Skepticism

Pepsi Max – A Bit Rapey

I just saw a new ad (on British TV) for Pepsi Max, which you can see here:

A guy hits on a woman in a bar, she makes it clear she’s not interested. Then a news item comes on the bar TV saying that an asteroid is about to hit earth. The woman is seen to panic, she and the guy make eye contact, and as everyone else in the bar screams and runs away, she jumps on him in a passionate embrace and they (presumably) have sex on the sticky and beer-soaked floor. Then we see the same guy go behind the scenes to where his mates are standing in what turns out to be a fake TV newsroom, they do high fives and he drinks a Pepsi Max.

I am not lacking a sense of humour. I am not known for political correctness. But hello? If you make a woman think she is about to die in order to have sex with her, that is a bit rapey. Would she have had sex with you otherwise? No – we clearly see her turn the guy down. Was she under extreme emotional duress? Yes – she thinks she and everyone she loves are about to die horribly. Does this make me want to buy Pepsi Max? No, it makes me want to pretend to kidnap the children of the ad execs who came up with this ad in order to get them to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do (like show some semblance of intelligence). Disclaimer: it makes me want to do it, but I wouldn’t, because I am not a jerk, unlike the Pepsi Max-drinking jerk in the ad.

Perhaps they think that any controversy is clever guerilla marketing, and so the ad is win-win. Banned adverts can often help promote a brand, so if this one causes a stink then they get more column inches than they would otherwise have done. Or maybe they’re just clueless. One really really hopes that it’s the former, because if those responsible for this ad think it’s OK to be a bit rapey, I am saddened. I’ll contact Pepsi UK for a comment and let you know what they say.

ETA: @mjrobbins on Twitter just pointed out the dance they do at the end, which we have now dubbed the pack hunt Dance of Rape.

ETA2: This post is getting a lot of geek love on Twitter, I’m commenting there as well as here – if you want to join in I’m @tkingdoll.

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168 Comments

  1. Man, I completely had the exact same reaction the first time I saw this ad and I’m so glad you brought it up. I can’t wait to hear what Pepsi has to say about it . . . my hypothesis is “clueless,” since the ad doesn’t have the feel of an intentionally edgy spot.

  2. I have to agree with Rebecca that they’re just clueless. Typically, the intentionally-controversial adverts get immediately thrown up on the internets with a big “BANNED COMMERCIAL” label in the title, and they’d usually be a bit racier, too. (The woman would probably open her shirt and flash some bra or something.)

    I think the meme of guys “tricking” a woman into sex is, sadly, far too mainstream for it to be used in an intentionally-controversial ad.

  3. This ad is full of sh*t.

    Why didn’t she run out with the others?

    Why would she want to have sex with someone she didn’t find attractive just because it was the end of the world?

    How did his friends plug into the TV in the bar?

    And you must feel really cool if a girl picked you if you were the only one around.

  4. @Rebecca: Yeah there’s no sort of winking/knowingness about it, particularly given the Dance of Rape at the end.

    In a dramatic display of Taking Things Seriously, I’d be interested to know what the legal position would be if this really happened. Presumably the Pepsi legal dept approved this, but if I was that woman, I’d be talking to a lawyer if not the police. I’m going to hazard a guess that because she ‘jumped’ him rather than the reverse, that (in the minds of Pepsi) makes it OK – she not only consented, she instigated!

    I will also complain to the ASA but I want to get Pepsi’s response first.

  5. Wow, gross. Also, it just wouldn’t be complete without the bad hip hop tune at the end. What is that? Surely not music. [Before anyone jumps on me, I DO like hip hop, but more Pharcyde and Tribe Called Quest than the shit that’s produced nowadays.]

    @turbomike: For what it’s worth, 2 of the people you’re talking to are in London, where it’s 55 degrees out. That may be warm in, say, December, but it probably isn’t the best “leave the computer inside and go play” weather.

  6. @Elyse: I reckon the woman in the advert found out, then went and bought the guy a Pepsi and they had a good laugh over how she totally wouldn’t have had sex with him if she hadn’t thought she was going to die, but how she doesn’t feel upset about that because he has a massive dong and his teeth are really good thanks to his preference for sugar-free drinks.

  7. I’ve been getting comments like @turbomike‘s on YouTube, too: “LOL GET A LIFE LOOSER” etc. They seem to miss all irony, not to mention any kind of intellectual curiosity.

    Up to now, I’ve only bothered banning/suspending spammers and people who purposely start throwing shit around, but I have considered that at some point I might start deleting people who aren’t able to contribute to a discussion in any meaningful way.

  8. @Tracy King:

    And she was like “Call me!” and he said okay then threw her number out because he would never date a girl stupid enough to give it up on the first death threat.

    But the important thing to remember here is that no one got fat.

  9. @Chelsea: Actually it’s pissing down in London and I have food poisoning, but his comment is still sad and useless. The idea that we shouldn’t criticise, progress or scrutinise commercials is sickening. Whether they’re claims of quackery or bad science or borderline rape, things presented to millions on television require critical thinking as much as things presented elsewhere, if not more so.

  10. I get so bothered by all of the commercials like this one.

    As a single, heterosexual, middle-class, 20-something white dude, I seem to be the target market for such a commercial and, as such, I should identify with the wee-bit rapey guy in the ad. But I don’t, and I don’t like the implication of the assumption that I should.

    See, I recognize that I’m a bit weird about the whole sex thing. I don’t go hitting on women hoping to hook up, and certainly don’t hold getting laid to be the highest goal when it comes to ladies. It’s certainly not some sort of prize attainable by any Machiavellian means necessary. But I’m weird, over-sensitive, and probably not like most men, so maybe others DO identify with the guy in this ad. And that’s a LITTLE scary to me.

    I feel as though ads like this one help to create an expectation in younger guys that THIS IS THE WAY MEN THINK, and if you DON’T think like this, well, you’re no man! It’s like a self-perpetuating trope that’s damaging to men and women alike.

    I mean, I understand the origins of the ideas in this ad… it’s been a long standing cultural trope to treat women as “Keepers of the Sex” and I get WHY that trope persists. I just wish it weren’t constantly being brought up by ads like this.

    But I guess an ad that says: “Gentlemen: Men and women BOTH like sex. Sooner or later, perhaps a woman with whom you would like to have sex will also want to have sex with you, and MAY even make this clear without you having to lie, cheat, or steal your way into her pants. But if she doesn’t, then you should leave her alone, go home, and have a wank. Oh, and drink Pepsi Max!” wouldn’t be as successful

  11. I’d hate to be banned. I really don’t contribute much but I really like this site. the folks that work here do a great job of tracking down the woo and getting things right. But I really hate to see that talent get bogged down on a discussion about the lowest form of video/audio input us humans have – commercials. really, you’re all better than that.

  12. This post made me go “Ooh, I want to see the rapey dance” before pressing play on the video. That’s not something it’s ever entirely comfortable to hear yourself say.

    That aside, you’re right, this is pretty messed up. Maybe Pepsi just decided that not a big enough share of their current market base consists of douchebags who high-five each other after tricking women into sex, and so they decided to target that demographic specifically.

  13. This is just a reaction to the ad where the guy uses Coke Zero to make a puddle in the hallway. When the hot girl slips and falls, he puts the cuffs and ball gag on her. (“Coke Zero: We make them bitches squirm, one way or another.”)

    (I don’t know much psychology at all, and certainly not any about how people react is stressful or near-death situations, but… is Fear Fucking a real thing? Is that why my voice goes up when someone in front of me in traffic changes three lanes without a signal?)

    You guys are right – the ad is repugnant. This looks like an unfortunate attempt to step beyond the “drink this and your sex appeal will skyrocket and sweaty supermodels will put their tongues on you” theme that has worked so well for beer ads over the years. But the message here is “you’re a tool for drinking this oversweetened battery acid, so there’s only one way to meet women.”

  14. @phlebas:

    I don’t know if fear fucking is a real thing. It’s certainly a real meme. And sending the message that it’s pretty awesome to go to any lengths to convince a chick that she’s about to be killed to increase your chances with her… that’s… ewwww…. ewwww….

  15. @ Expatria – The world needs more men like yourself!
    Funny (sad?) thing is I doubt you are particularly alone or unusual; it’s just culture like this ad presents that makes a lot of men feel they have to pretend they’re idiots to fit in.

    The ad is disturbing, tricking people into sex isn’t a laughing matter at all, and all the people going ‘omfg ppl it’s just a shitty commercial, lighten up bitchez’ – commercials are one of the main reasons so many people have distorted self-image and esteem issues, they tend to exert a lot of subliminal influence on people’s behaviour, and the very fact you feel this kind of ad should be accepted is indicative of problems inherent in our culture.

    If this doesn’t bother you, you may have some attitude problems. This kind of think should be challenged otherwise how, exactly, are we supposed to advance?

  16. At first I thought rape might be too strong a word for this ad, but seeing as they’re tricking the woman into thinking that’s she’s about to die, I now think it is borderline.

    Now pretending that your messy studio apartment was trashed, in order to impress a girl, that’s another matter. It’s still a deceptive and sleazy thing to do.

  17. Well, I guess I’ll jump in as the first commentor to not really be bothered by this ad. There are, I think, three primary reasons that this doesn’t seem very “rapey” to me.

    First the definition of rape that I am familiar with requires force (ingnoring age of consent stuff). I have heard quite often that rape is more about power and control than it is about sex. That’s not really what I see here.

    The second is really just another way of looking at my first point but I thought it different enough to merit a distinction. That is, I really don’t see why the girl would want to have sex with him all of a sudden. The about to die = have sex meme is one that has never really made sense to me except in the losing-your-virginity sense; but then again I have been fortunate enough to never have been about to die (or if I was, I wasn’t aware of it).

    My final point is that I’m not comfortable with your ability to distinguish between this lie with any of the other lies people often tell to get someone into bed, or increase their chances at least. I am a really honest person, if only because lying makes me uncomfortable, but I don’t think that guys exaggerating their incomes or women lying about their age (to use two blatantly stereotypical examples) to get someone into bed is “a bit rapey” and I’m not confident that there is a real distinction here. I won’t say all lies are okay. The lie “No I don’t have AIDS” is one I’m all for classifying as quite “rapey,” but I don’t hunk this case was so distinct (danger to the partner’s wellbeing would be the distinction I make).

    Anyway, it really sucks typing these out in a phone, I apologize for any typos or inconsistencies in this post, but I don’t feel like editing it.

  18. @Expatria – you are indeed the target market, Pepsi Max is Diet Pepsi for men who want to cut their calorie intake without looking fey. Coke Zero , or “Bloke Coke”, was launched for the same reason.

    Good to have a male perspective on this. You’re definitely not alone here even if this advert implies that you are by suggesting that all other men are predatory sex-obsessed cavemen. This advert is saying women are dumb and men have one thing on their minds- no-one comes out of this in a good light.

    Sexist adverts are designed to appeal to whichever sex is not being insulted but usually end up insulting both. Perhaps the most offensive thing about this tired old marketing strategy is its smugness.

  19. @briandgregory: Same here…no sacred cows when it comes to, say, jokes in the pub, or what other people should or shouldn’t do. I am the last person to take offense at anything, and I wouldn’t even describe my reaction to this ad as ‘offended’, because that’s a word I associate with knee-jerk righteous indignation or a word reserved for those with a personal reason for a reaction, such as a rape victim.

    Rape isn’t a black and white issue. Some people (Whoopie ‘rape-rape’ Goldberg for example) think it is something else than perhaps I do, and I used the phrase ‘a bit rapey’ deliberately to express the greyness of the issue – plus it is meant to be a FUNNY ad, and is an absurd, hypothetic scenario, not meant to be taken literally. It’s what it represents that I object to, as so perfectly summarised by some of the comments about this post, for example Rebecca on Twitter with “Pepsi Max: for guys who can’t get laid unless a woman thinks she’s about to die”.

  20. @ChrisZ:

    I guess, responding to your first point, it’s not rape, exactly. But the degree of manipulation in this situation makes it a bit… rapey, as Tracy put it? Rape-ish? I think manipulating someone into believing they are going to die IS about power and control. It may not be rape, per se, but it’s rape-like. Kinda like how Manson didn’t exactly KILL anyone, but he more or less controlled people and got them to do it.

    To your second point, the girl suddenly wanting to have sex with him even though she didn’t at first is actually kind of insidious. It implies that, underneath their “icy exterior”, women ACTUALLY want to fuck EVERY guy, even ones they act like they don’t, because they’re just THAT HORNY. It’s the same stereotype behind Girls Gone Wild; women are just inhibited, but underneath they’re crazy sex fiends! But here, it’s implied that the special circumstances of being about to die (rather than alcohol) removed those “inhibitions” and that girl would have fucked anyone there. I think that the rapey “no means yes” implications here are clear.

    Finally, again, it’s the death threat that distinguishes this one from the other lies men are meant to tell to get laid. I’m with you on the hating lies in general… I’ve often been told I’m honest to a fault when it comes to myself. So maybe I see all misrepresentations as negative in this light… but this one is particularly so.

  21. I must admit that I didn’t immediately think that the first time I saw the ad. But by the second or third time I was thinking, “Why don’t they just drop the other shoe and bring out a version of Pepsi with added GHB?”

  22. @ChrisZ

    The definition of rape is penetration of the anus, vagina or mouth by the penis without consent.

    The actus reus – the act of rape – is the penetration and without it prosecution will not succeed.

    The mens rea – the intent – is that it occurs without consent, with consent defined as “if (s)he agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice”. The defendant must demonstrate reasonable belief that consent had been given.

    There is no requirement for any acts of violence to have occurred.

    So the question isn’t whether the guilty act occurred – we can reasonably infer that it has – but whether or not the woman consented.

    Consent requires:

    a) that the woman is able to consent and
    b) that the woman did in fact consent of her own free will.

    The argument is whether by causing undue alarm (ie: faking the news story about the asteroid attack), the man removed either ability to consent or whether this removed her free will.

    Arguably, putting a person into a state of panic is removal of free will. However, questions arise as to whether or not her subsequent initiation of contact arises as a result of putting them into the state of panic, or whether it was true consent.

    The point of the advert is that the act resulted in her behaviour; if the fake news story hadn’t resulted in the sexual intercourse, the ad wouldn’t work.

    It’s therefore a reasonable conclusion that faking the news story led to a chain of events which result in sexual intercourse to which the woman would not ordinarily have consented. In addition, there is the objectification of women (“it’s OK to lie to people if you get to have sex”), and that women who get stressed immediately want to have sex (which I suspect is somewhat falsifiable given the number of women in highly stressful employment who are not constantly jumping on guys.

    Whilst some people might say “it’s just an ad”, ads do influence people (otherwise, why would people advertise?). Arguably, it’s a reflection of popular culture, but surely the minimisation of the harm caused by rape scenarios is an aspect of pop culture we’d like to change?

    It’s also reasonable to conclude that drinking Pepsi Max makes misogynistic exploiters out of people.

  23. @ChrisZ:

    First the definition of rape that I am familiar with requires force (ingnoring age of consent stuff). I have heard quite often that rape is more about power and control than it is about sex. That’s not really what I see here.

    Force doesn’t have to be violent or physical. “Force” can also mean that the person you are getting it on with is unable to consent or is not of sound mind to consent. Coercing consent is the equivalent of force.

    In this case you have a women who clearly said no… to talking to him. It’s pretty easy to infer that she is also saying no to sex.

    The second is really just another way of looking at my first point but I thought it different enough to merit a distinction. That is, I really don’t see why the girl would want to have sex with him all of a sudden. The about to die = have sex meme is one that has never really made sense to me except in the losing-your-virginity sense; but then again I have been fortunate enough to never have been about to die (or if I was, I wasn’t aware of it).

    I’m not sure how this pertains to whether or not this situation is or is not rapey.

    My final point is that I’m not comfortable with your ability to distinguish between this lie with any of the other lies people often tell to get someone into bed, or increase their chances at least.

    Because saying, “What do I do for a living? Oh I founded an organization called Doctors without Borders.” is a different kind of lie entirely than putting together an elaborate hoax to make a person think they are about to die. Imagine it wasn’t a fake newscast, but instead he had his buddy come into the bar, fake guns a-blazing and pretend shooting people and the plan was for this PepsiMax drinker to take the hottest chick in the bar and whisk her into and have the buddy continue to pretend to be shooting people while the “couple” hid away from the shooter…with the knowledge that this would cause her to have sex with him.

    If she would have said yes had he not manipulated her into thinking she was DYING, then it would be a different thing altogether.

    Your comment points out an important misunderstanding about rape, too. It’s not “any consent” or violent physical force that makes it rape. I’d say that this commercial falls into the same gray area of “probably more than a little drunk” (and yeah, despite what college kids tell you, if a person is too drunk to consent, they can’t consent). It’s definitely not “she was passed out so she didn’t say no”.

  24. Well since I’m doing this from my phone an on a train that is about to arrive, I’ll keep this brief despite all of your points I could respond to.

    Let ne tell you what I see wring with this ad. The idea of fear-sex, plays into a cultural idea that women need to protect their sexual organs in a way that men don’t because they are somehow tainted by having sex with someone who isn’t “special” or their spouse or whatever. This is idiotic in my view, but that’s what I see. The girl needs to save herself and so can’t go having sex with people just because it’s fun. Once her future “taint” is no longer something she has to worry about she can have sex just for fun. That’s what fear-sex looks like to me.

    I also see lots of stereotypes based on gender norms.

    I don’t see rape. I understand the legal definition in this country, I understand there is some issue legally with having sex with someone who is distraught or drunk, and that this might apply here, but I’m really not interested inlegal definitions or even strict cultural ones. I’m interested in what happened and how we Gould talk about it. In her distraught state the woman in the commercial clearly consented, and so the only way (that I see) to look at that as rape is to say that even though she consented she was somehow harmed, and that plays into the idea that the woman was somehow tainted by that sex.

    Sorry I couldn’t more directly respond to people as I’d like to have a conversation, nut my train is arriving so I’ll leave it there.

  25. Would it be grossly insensitive to use this as the basis of a Gettier case? “Well, they were filming the TV programme to help a friend rape someone in a bar, but it just happened to be true that the world was ending…” — this is so replacing Fake Barn Country in introduction to epistemology classes…

    I’m not sure about this at all – I mean, I can see why lying in order to get sex is wrong. Imagine if one person takes another back to their rich friend’s house in order to try and get them to believe that they were the true owner of the house, that might induce someone to have sex with you – is it a false pretence? Sure. But does that mean that it is rape or “a bit rapey”? What specifically about the situation depicted in the advert – lying about the “OMG end of the world, we need to fuck” scenario in order to get sex – makes it more rape-like than exaggerations about one’s income? How does one draw the line? There are people who deliberately do not tell prospective sexual partners their profession because they fear stereotypes will cause people to not accept them or treat them differently. I’m interested on how these kinds of lines are drawn – anyone got any strong moral intuitions about this stuff?

  26. @tommorris: I’m pretty sure the sort of extreme, extreme, extreme emotional duress experienced by someone who thinks they and everyone else are about to die is on the ‘rapey’ side of the line. Thinking a dude is rich = greed. Thinking you are about to die and the instant emotional reaction that comes from that (in her case, either sex one last time, or the requirement to spend her last moments with another human being instead of alone, or whatever the Pepsi folk think her motivation is) is not the same as gold-digging.

    That said – if someone has sex with you because they think you own a big house, they are not worth desiring. And if pretending to have a big house is the only way someone can get laid, they aren’t worth having either. So actually, those two people probably deserve each other. Not so the woman who thinks she’s about to be crushed in a fiery hellball and would rather be experiencing sexual pleasure at the moment of impact than nothing at all (or whatever).

  27. @Expatria, the “icy exterior” could be the thing I find most offensive here. I guess the woman was made an ice queen to make the “poor awkward guy” the sympathetic character in this story.

    I wish writers would stop using the” stuck-up ice queen” stereotype as it’s an idea men often use against women who reject them in real life. It’s a really nasty situation to be in- some (but by no means all) men can’t accept that a women may simply not be attracted to them, and to save their pride they’ll resort to the old “ice queen” argument, or tell her she’s got “issues”. Often they’ll make out that they were “led on” even if they did the asking out and the woman was completely passive- it’s the old “keepers of the sex” argument again, and some men “picking up signals” where there aren’t any. I’ve had a few nasty experiences with such men and don’t think they need any more encouragement.

    There is also your point about women being inhibited sex fiends- this advert suggests that with enough pressure a woman will eventually give in, and that refusing to take no for an answer could be a good tactic. The old “no means yes” argument, which is very rapey indeed.

  28. @thad: Hah, just posed the exact same question on Twitter. I don’t know. The media assumes men want sex all the time, are less likely to turn it down etc, even though that’s not actually the case. So that assumption would likely affect perception of the ad, yes. Plus, society likes to pretend that male rape doesn’t happen.

  29. Rape? Legally? Probably not, but if there is a hell that guy is going to it anyway. The bottom line is this ad fails for me because it makes me not want to buy their product, but maybe there is a large demographic of diet soft drink consumers with non-consensual domination fantasies who this ad is aimed at. I sure hope I don’t know any of them.

    And for the record @davidw is not me if you couldn’t tell that already from the insightful and intelligent nature of his comment.

    If folks are interested in a short story about hooking up in the face of real impending world doom I highly recommend Larry Niven’s _Inconstant Moon_. I think it might be my favorite short story ever.

  30. I don’t understand the ad. The woman thinks she is about to be killed so that makes her desire sex? The way she jumps on him implies more than merely acquiescing to me. I think it also fosters the absurd belief that women may say no but actually they really want it. Very stupid ad.

  31. What? I just read a couple of the comments at top – how is this “rapey”?

    Obviously the woman didn’t run out because she kind of had it in the back of her mind that she wanted to bone (or at lest talk with) the “rapist”…

    perhaps the character has a boyfriend/is married, and the initial rebuff was due to that. I know that I (a non single female) would act that same way to a guy in a bar no matter how attracted I was to him.

    But mostly, I think that this is a serous case of needing to lighten up (unless this is like meta-comedy, where you’re being “outraged”, in which case, brava).

  32. @ChrisZ:

    In this particular situation, with these particular people, it is a given that the woman will consent if she feels her life is in danger. (Which, like I said is another topic altogether.)

    If there were an actual news report that the world were about to end, and it was a mistake, but the girl and the guy got it on because they thought they were both about to die, then whatever. That was silly.

    However this is NOT the case. The guy devised a plan to threaten the girl’s life if she said no. And it worked.

    How people don’t think this is a legally and ethically questionable way to gain consent is beyond me.

  33. @Tracy King: Maybe people who jump on you the minute that they think they have 10 minutes to live aren’t the best catches, either? Sorry, just scrollin’ down the comments, and I still don’t get it.

    Would you think it was “rapey” if an average-looking girl was depicted doing this to a super hot guy in a commercial?

  34. I disagree with the rape analogy as I don’t think the woman was incapable of giving her consent.

    The question isn’t whether the guy is a douche or even that he manipulated the situation for his own ends.

    The question is under the circumstances from her point of view what actions does she take.

    Run the scenario again except the news story is real, the world is about to end and she decides to jump the nearest guy for one last romp.

    Now take this alternative scenario one step further, after said romp they come to find the world hasn’t ended and it turns out aliens or god has intervened to save the earth.

    Clearly in these two scenarios both parties used their own judgement and neither are guilty of rape.

    Now going back to the original scenario, right up until she makes a decision, from her point of view all three of these scenarios are identical.

    She throws caution to the wind, exercising here own judgement. Had she been a little bit skeptical she would have flicked the channel or checked what was happening on twitter, or even just stepped outside.

    Even under extreme situations I still think we are culpable for our own actions.

  35. This is why critical thinking is so important, and why you should never just take the media at their word. If Phil Plait can’t confirm that “we’re all gonna die!” I think I’ll just keep listening to Curiosity Aroused or The Geologic Podcast. That way, if I’m wrong, I’ll die happy. It’s like Pascal’s Wager for skeptics.

  36. @DanielMcL: There’s an important difference between the commercial and your analogy: It’s not an event that just happened, it’s a fake event that he intentionally manufactured for the purpose of manipulating a woman (or possibly women – suppose this commercial “documents” his one success out of many attempts) into having sex with him, with the potential of later emotional distress given that she’ll find out soon that he lied.

  37. To those saying they don’t get what is wrong with this ad:
    Deceiving a person (male or female) to get something from them (in this case, sex) that they would not normally give, is wrong.
    Wilfully placing someone in a mental state (for example, drunk or panicked) in which they are unable to give informed consent and then taking advantage of them, is wrong.

    Certainly there are ‘levels’ or wrongness, but this isn’t the ‘painting yourself in a better light’ deception that most people engage in simply as a matter of course in most societal interactions, this is outright, wilful deception with the intent of placing the woman in a compromised mental state, and taking advantage of her. This no better than getting her massively drunk.
    I doubt this could be called illegal, but just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t make it right.

  38. @Matt B: I doubt this could be called illegal, but just because something isn’t illegal doesn’t make it right.

    I think there was a _Law and Order_ about this once. They tried to charge the douche bag with “theft by deception.” The trick was using a law that normally applies to monetary claims to something that has much higher value, but is hard to quantify.

  39. This is not PepsiCo’s first marketing gimmick to be a bit rapey.

    When that one came out, I quit drinking it. After they were crowded into apologizing for enabling PUAs (but apparently not into withdrawing the app), I can’t believe for a minute that the UK branch approved this commercial without thinking it through. I’m forced to conclude that PepsiCo really does think that it’s more important for men to have sex than women to have autonomy.

  40. Oh, come on. Did you see the way she looked at the apocalyptic news report with those big brown terrified eyes? That outfit has “this is the last thing I will ever wear” written all over it. What is she doing hanging out in her local end times bar sitting next to a doomsday stud if she didn’t want it?

    She was totally asking to be armageddon raped.

  41. Armageddon sex, Cthulu attack, interview assault… the message is: “Men are fucking douchebags who will manipulate you for their own personal gain. Drink Pepsi.”

    Yeah, that’s not at all sexist. Stay classy, Pepsi.

  42. It seems more implausible than “rapey” to me, that just doesn’t seem like the right word. If it was “you will die if you don’t jump his bones” that would be very rapey. Jackass move yes, rapey, I’m not convinced.

    If say, she were an actress and someone conspirator pointed him out and said “jump his bones, he is in tight with the studios and he can get you a job” it would still be creating a lie and using it to induce bone jumping behavior, only it would be okay because it was greed not panic that was the emotion used. that doesn’t seem like a valid distinction to me. Furthermore if false pretenses make sex rapey then even most women are probably guilty of rapey behavior.

  43. @Opcnup

    I don’t know, I feel there is a difference between taking advantage of fear vs. taking advantage of greed.

    Feer is such a basic human emotion that it is hard to overcome. It is also a very useful and important thing to feel when it is waranted. Abusing this trait to trick someone into having sex just seems to be somewhat more dispicable than using greed for the same thing.
    After all, I would argue that a dicission motivated by greed is usually not made under duress, so you are more likely to use you’re higher brain function when you make it.

    It’s a subtle difference, I’ll grant you, but it’s different none the less.

  44. @Kimbo Jones:

    The question of intent on the guy’s side or the contrived circumstance is wholly irrelevant; when it comes to rape the deciding factor is the victim’s consent to have sex or not. She wasn’t under any sort of duress, she made a choice given the information she had at hand (whether it was reliable or not), having sex in that situation wasn’t her only course of action, she decided to have sex.

    To imply rape here requires that every time a person lies in order to get laid it is also rape. I don’t agree with duping a person into sex, in fact I think it’s rather low; however there is a modicum of culpability on the other person not to be duped.

  45. @DanielMcL: She wasn’t under any sort of duress, she made a choice given the information she had at hand

    By your logic, if he put a gun to her head and forced her to have sex, it would be rape. But if he PRETENDED he had a gun, that would just be lying to get her to have sex with him. For some strange reason, I don’t agree with you.

  46. @DanielMcL: Yeah, guys are always setting up highly elaborate fake news stories on bar TVs, I can’t believe she fell for that old chestnut! And faced with impending death, her decisions are clearly rational and the same as they would be under unemotional circumstances (such as those exhibited earlier in the ad when she turned the guy down).

    So…if she wasn’t under any duress, then why was the fake news story necessary in order to have sex with her?

  47. Late to the conversation but I’ll just say the commercial sounds like a crap idea that someone should have noticed in the chain of command .

    Perhaps we could get that girl from Kick Ass to get all ninja nasty on the guys!

  48. “The question of intent on the guy’s side or the contrived circumstance is wholly irrelevant; when it comes to rape the deciding factor is the victim’s consent to have sex or not. She wasn’t under any sort of duress, she made a choice given the information she had at hand (whether it was reliable or not), having sex in that situation wasn’t her only course of action, she decided to have sex.

    To imply rape here requires that every time a person lies in order to get laid it is also rape. I don’t agree with duping a person into sex, in fact I think it’s rather low; however there is a modicum of culpability on the other person not to be duped.”

    So…how is inducing panic, which has noted and potent psychological and physiological effects to reduce a woman’s inhibition different morally from a ruffy (or rapey if you watched the Hangover)?

  49. @Tracy King: It’s just a TV advertisement. You know, in our city, London, there are 12 year old girls who are tricked into comming into the country and forced into prostitution. That is rape.

    Some dumb advert for brown sugar-water, barely registers on my things-I-don’t-like-about-the-world-o-meter.

  50. @ Russellsugden

    Oh how is it rape for them, they do consented to coming over and act as prostitutes right?

    Same argument. The problem is the commercial promotes the idea that it is not only ok by MANLY(tm) to get women to have sex against their desires.

  51. @russellsugden: It’s just a blog post. Why is it okay for you to take the time to comment on a blog post seen by maybe hundreds or thousands, but not okay for someone to take the time to comment on an ad seen by millions?

    The hypocrisy of this kind of comment just kills me.

  52. Yep, because women are defenseless creatures who can’t think for themselves and are vulnerable to all sorts of male trickery.
    Or:
    Would it be different if the ad had the friends convincing the woman that their buddy was a rich doctor assuming that would get her to sleep with him?

  53. @Tracy King: Suggesting the fake story was necessary to have sex with her implies she couldn’t make any other choice. The fact that she jumps the guy is necessary purely for the commercial to work. @delphi_ote this is why the gun analogy doesn’t fit, he’s not giving her a choice of do this or suffer the consequences

  54. @DanielMcL: But he IS deliberately making her think her life is threatened. Whether her life is actually in danger or not has nothing to do with the situation. She isn’t making a rational decision because she actually believes her life is in danger. He’s intentionally manipulating her state of mind to get her to have sex with him. Ethically, that’s no different than drugging her drink.

    In fact, you could pretty much switch the fake news report out in the commercial for the guy and his totally extreme bros high-fiveing each other in the kitchen after slipping her some ecstasy.

  55. @russellsugden: You’re right, from now on I will only blog about 12 year old prostitute slaves in London, as that’s the only topic that should be up for discussion. What was I thinking?! Here’s me thinking one of the biggest brands in the world should be responsible for its advertising, when in fact it’s me who has my priorities all wrong.

    “X exists, therefore we shouldn’t waste our time discussing Y” is the worst argument I can think of. It is lazy. Are the 12-year-old rape victims in London less important than the victims of a genocide? Let’s play the priorities game!

    If you have nothing constructive to say about the topic of the post then don’t comment at all, thanks. Or, start your own blog and talk about what you think the important issues are, and I’ll come over and tell you why you are wasting your time. I’m sure you won’t find that annoying at all.

  56. @Kimbo Jones: Do I mind? Yeah maybe a little bit. Truth is Men can be a bit sleazy/dumb/clumsy. Everyone, EV-ER-Y-ONE pads out their cv a little bit when they’re “out on the pull” to some extent, I actually don’t have minty fresh breath 24hrs a day.

    And the Pepsi advert is basically an exaggeration of that. Frankly, in the real world, a woman drinking alone in a bar, he should have waited until she was a dozen drinks in and telling the whole world about how all her friends are paired up and she’s all alone etc etc.

    @Ing213: It’s rape because they are tricked into comming to the UK on the promise of domestic service work and then they are forced into prostitution by criminal gangs in order to pay back what they “owe” the traffickers.

    @delphi_ote: My point was that there are much more grevious injusticies in the world than a relatively silly advert. Injusticies that are real, not imagined or fiction. Injusticies of pain and blood and fear not of theory and ideology. Those are the things which should enrage us, not this silly advert. The ad is basically saying that the women would only find him attractive if she had not very long left to live (and it says a lot about where we place sex in our culture relative to relationships, if I was in that situation, I’d phone my family and friends to say goodbye, but thats another topic), and wanted to spend her last moments having sex with someone, anyone.

    It is only when you are completely removed from, held safe and protected from the real sufferings of the world that you would consider an imagined sleight to be a worthwhile cause. It is as if one is blind to the suffering of third world child labourers, while making heartfelt pleas for the plight of Harry Potter’s House Elves.

  57. @russellsugden: OK, NOW I’m offended.

    “And the Pepsi advert is basically an exaggeration of that. Frankly, in the real world, a woman drinking alone in a bar, he should have waited until she was a dozen drinks in and telling the whole world about how all her friends are paired up and she’s all alone etc etc.”

    You have a pathetic and distorted view of the world and women, and I feel sorry for you. Please don’t comment on this post again.

  58. @russellsugden: The concept that guys are horrible assholes that have no respect for women shouldn’t be so pervasive and acceptable that it’s an amusing way to sell a product.

    Tracy never said she wasn’t interested in other issues just because today she happened to blog about a commercial.

  59. @russellsugden
    “Frankly, in the real world, a woman drinking alone in a bar, he should have waited until she was a dozen drinks in and telling the whole world about how all her friends are paired up and she’s all alone etc etc.”

    hah! Yeah, whatever you say, stud. *fist bump*

  60. Dear Russell:
    Please read this link I have posted. If and when you manage to remove your head from your ass, THEN I’ll talk to you.
    http://fugitivus.wordpress.com/2009/06/26/another-post-about-rape-3/

    It is a very good explanation of what a rape culture is. Rape culture tells us that it’s always the woman’s fault. And that we should get a life when we try to point out that these sorts of commercial/cultural messages perpetuate a lot of myths, and give unethical men implicit permission to become rapists.

    Sheesh.

    You may also want to remember that a lot of women read this blog. And a lot of them are rape survivors, like me.

    Some days I really don’t feel like picking up my shield of armor and dealing with schmucks. This would be one of those days.

  61. Wow this POST pisses me off.. yes i agree that the commercial goes over the line… but if i dont I cant post on here ever again? way to get a freeflow of ideas…

    I like this website I have never seen this before here..

  62. @justv26: No, you can post if you have something constructive to say. If you just post douchey unconstructive nonsense then you’re actually disrupting the ‘freeflow’ of ideas. Plenty of commenters here who have presented counter-arguments, disagreed and made their cases, and the debate has been healthy. Those people are very welcome.

    Telling us what to post about in a post about the thing we’re being told not to post about is not welcome, or helpful, it is stupid and pointless and just disrupts meaningful debate.

    Read the comments again, I think you will find that several people have posted their disagreement with my assessment and have not been told where to go. Those who have told me I am wrong to make *any* assessment in the first place can rightly eff off. That said, you will notice no-one has been banned or otherwise prohibited from posting, merely warned to be constructive or leave. That is reasonable. You should also be aware that some people have a history of being disruptive that pre-dates this post.

  63. Ok bare with me. it was a general feeling.. I dont mean to offend anyone..
    maybe we need to figure out why Men and women think totally different about this advertisment… as a man I thought it was over the line but im not freaking out about it… If I saw it on TV I would say “that was in Bad taste” and move on… I think I have decent morals have never even thought about raping anyone… I also would like to know what women think is “rapey”

  64. @ kimbo… I didnt say freaking out but I do see a general difference between the sexes on this topic… in this post and others

    How did people feel about the scene in “invention of lying” it was basically the same

  65. @justv26: “as a man I thought it was over the line but im not freaking out about it… ”

    The implication in that statement was that others here, probably women, *were* freaking out about it. If I misunderstood, then I apologize.

    Anyway, a few men in this thread were contributing against your assumption, but Eliza is right – it is very difficult to see beyond (or even recognize) privilege and understand how messages like the ones in many commercials are potentially offensive and annoying.

    If I’m remembering that scene correctly, the character in question comes to feel guilty about what he’s doing and doesn’t go through with it. The message of that scene was – “what I’m doing here is wrong”.

  66. @ Eliza “Since social status is conferred in many different ways — everything from race to geography to class — all people are both privileged and non-privileged in certain aspects of their life. Furthermore, since dynamics of social status are highly dependent on situation, a person can benefit from privilege in one situation while not benefiting from it in another”

    basically I believe it says there is a social hierarchy and people in the “higher status” believe that their feelings trump the “lower status’s” feelings

    I dont believe I am in a higher status .. I read the blogs I understand most of it, not all.. Do you believe your feelings trump mine because you have a higher “intelectual status”

  67. @justv26: No worries, you won’t get banned :) Well, unless you do something jerk-ish, of course.

    I’d say it’s impossible to tell what gender all of the commenters here are, but I admit that I expected much of the disagreement to come from men (not the same as expecting most men to disagree, obviously), because in my experience of ‘what is consent’ debates, men and women’s opinions can differ in exactly the way we’re discussing, so I see where you’re coming from – what is lacking is evidence. It would be interesting to see some studies on this – I’m sure they are out there. Tis 3am here though, too tired to go looking now.

    I think I covered in the original post what I think constitutes ‘rapey’ in this case – clearly not ‘rape’ as we don’t see the guy force the woman to have sex, but ‘rapey’ because there is an element of coercion due to the extreme emotional distress he deliberately places her under in order to have sex.

  68. very interesting discussion here, I’d like to chime in on a few points.

    first the short ones.
    @Kimbo Jones – No I for one don’t really care if men are portrayed as dumb shitheads, sleazy douchebags, I don’t consider myself to be one, and to the best of my knowledge neither do people that I know, think this of me. Perhaps this is the benefit of being a white male in this world we live in, but being offended by a stereotype version of a group I belong to in a small or big way, isn’t my cup of tea.
    On par with this is imo, and I know I’m treading on thin ice here, the usage and treatment of the word “nigger”, the world is in a way split up into two groups on this, the group that can/will/should be offended when they hear someone use it, and the group that can use it as a verbal poker to incite/anger/annoy the other group if it suits them at the time, knowing that they probably will get the scorn of others for having used it.
    We’ve even made a phrase for it, the N-word, which in no way helps the situation very much, because it at best lets us talk about the word while escaping the wrath of those who could rightfully claim offense, and at worst, teach others that this word is infused with power and should not be uttered, while at the same time, creating a weapon for those that choose to use it.

    If someone calls me a “cracker”, “white trash”, “honkey” or what have you, I don’t get offended, it’s on par to someone calling me blonde, asian, a footwear enthusiast, a dog person, none of which is offensive.
    I say deflate the power of the word, it might take a couple of generations to comes to term with it, but in the end, we’ll have rid ourselves of a word with WAY too much power behind it then it should have.

    ok that wasn’t short, I’m not good at this :)

    onward !

    about the real discussion here.

    as someone mentioned, swap the roles, would that make a difference, for some yes, for others no.

    create similar scenarios, some where the guy is also tricked by the TV broadcast, etc, and the woman’s point of view is the same in each one, would that make a difference, no say most, since the real issue isn’t how she comes to the conclusion of having sex with the guy, but how she was forced into a mental state where she was forced to make a decision.

    so the real issue is that the guy created a scenario, to trick the woman into a state where she would hopefully be more forthcoming in accepting his offer of sex.
    put short, he lied, and to some extent, manipulated.

    we all can agree that lying to get sex, isn’t a crime, it’s at most a bit low or sleezy, but in no way something criminal, as long as you’re not under oath :) and as someone mentioned, we all in a way tell untruths about ourselves when out seeking a partner, be it for short or long term relations, make up, breath mints, clothes that could imply a higher status then we really have, high heals, push up bras, sock in the underwear, perfumes, how we display parts about our lives that we’re ok with others knowing because they flatter us, and we stay silent about parts we know would have possible partners say “no thanks”, it’s all apart of the game to some extent.

    so it boils down to manipulation, and I’m sure that manipulating others into making a decision they would otherwise not make, is wrong, and in some cases criminally wrong, so we have to decide, was what the guy did in the commercial, manipulation, or wasn’t it.

    and clearly we have different views on this.

    some would say it was just an elaborate lie
    others would say using a prop like the bar Television set, would lessen the chance she would doubt the “lie” in question, so he did manipulate the situation.

    could we create a scenario where you would put on a show, to impress someone, in order for them to more readily agree to a proposal of sex, say using a “wingman”, I’m recalling a scene from The Wire, where the wingman acts drunk and hits on a pair of girls, and is obnoxious, the other guy comes in and saves the day by convincing the drunken fool to go home, and puts on the nice guy routine.

    here we have an elaborate lie with intent to get sex.

    another train of thought, if being in a mental state where you are unable to consent “legally”, but you are able to verbally and clearly are pursuing sex with someone, could that person claim the same title on his partner, that he was a bit rapey?

    if he was drunk as well, would both parties involved be rapey , or both victims of a rapey situation?

  69. @justv26: You don’t have to believe you have higher status in order to actually have it. That’s what’s so “great” about privilege – the privileged get to ignore that they’re privileged because the world is already built for them.

  70. and since I can’t seem to stop talking, I blame coming into the discussion late !

    Are we possibly taking a stance when it comes to “edgy” commercials like this one, which are without a doubt done in a way to incite some, annoy some, and make some laugh, something on the verge of being ok.

    the commercial is trying to advertise Pepsi, and here it’s portraying it as something that will effect you when it comes to life threatening situations, if the advert made the woman run really fast, because someone fooled her into thinking a lion was coming around the corner to eat her and she ran out and ran a whole marathon, we probably wouldn’t take offense, since it doesn’t involve the biggest taboo of all, sex.

    one way to understand the commercial would be,

    pepsi, it makes you enjoy life.

    others i’m guessing hadn’t had pepsi, and ran around panicking, while she having had a zip of the beverage decide that if she’s about to die, she was going to enjoy life until it ended.

    so they are trying to make you equate their product to enjoying life.

    decided to go with sex, since it’s a taboo, still.. yawn … annoying … sigh .. but that’s how it is.

    and as a result, someone got offended.

    but in my example. she was or wasn’t manipulated by a lie, that put her in a state of mind where she took a course of action she would never normally take, i.e. run a marathon.

    i think we would be hard pressed to convince ourselves that we’d be just as offended by that scenario.

    and why is that?

    sex, marathon, both are healthy activities, both with some risks, but the odds are you’ll just sweat a lot, and feel really good afterward.

    we really are still victims of a civilization that through religion has made an issue out of sex, well out of proportion, and attached to it, an almost endless amount of baggage we could and should just drop on the ground and leave it be.

  71. You know what we were taught in Highschool and latter reiterated in college?

    “If there’s doubt it probably isn’t a good idea”

    Seems like a good rule of thumb for the oddly hard task for some of avoiding rapeyness

  72. @justv26: I think you’ve completely misread that faq.

    You, as someone who identifies as male, don’t have to believe you have a higher social status –you just do by virtue of being male. And that you don’t recognize it makes that point rather nicely. As the faq says, “It is a status that is conferred by society to certain groups, not seized by individuals, which is why it can be difficult sometimes to see one’s own privilege.”

    My feeling that this commercial is gross and sexist is exactly that — my feeling, based on my experience being a woman in this world. Mine. I get to feel this way and no one gets to tell me that my feelings aren’t valid just because they aren’t personally offended by it (ie: are privileged enough to live their life without having to think too much about sexism.) Just like as someone with white privilege I can’t tell POCs that something they’ve called racist isn’t racist. And as someone with able-bodied privilege, I can’t insist to someone with a disability that they shouldn’t be offended by ableist language.

    Every. Single. Time. there is a post on Skepchick that involves rape or misogyny there is always a small band of guys who feel the need to diminish and invalidate the experiences of the women posting and commenting. It’s an act, whether conscious or not (and I’m guessing often not) to protect that privilege. I can’t imagine anyone here actively trying to be sexist or racist or homophobic or classist — but no one can claim that they 100% aren’t. Or that they don’t in some way benefit from some form of privilege. It stings to get called out on it, but it’s necessary for personal growth. How do you fix what you don’t know is broken?

    The point here is to be thoughtful and consider your limited point of view before being dismissive of someone else’s experience.

  73. @Eliza: I get to feel this way and no one gets to tell me that my feelings aren’t valid just because they aren’t personally offended by it

    No. But they can tell you your feelings are invalid if they’re unreasonable. That is a perfectly valid conversation for people to have on any subject.

    Just like as someone with white privilege I can’t tell POCs that something they’ve called racist isn’t racist. And as someone with able-bodied privilege, I can’t insist to someone with a disability that they shouldn’t be offended by ableist language.

    Anyone can tell anyone anything they like. And they can be right or wrong about it. Reason and facts don’t work differently because you belong to a certain group. People should always listen to the underprivileged about these things and do their best to understand where they’re coming from. But one *insert group here* person declaring that something is *insert group here again*”ist” language doesn’t make it an unassailable fact.

  74. Grant most of the points. Except, does it change anything that she didn’t run out of the bar like everyone else? Does that imply some level of fear-sex fetishism?

    It seems to me that the advertisers were saying something like “Well, saying no to another drink isn’t saying ‘no I’m completely uninterested in you in anyway, especially sexually’ no matter what cultural bar-etiquette norms are.” Plus “If she initiates she has the power, she made the choice, and therefore it’s her decision and not rape.” Though how they missed the “If you have to defend it as ‘not exactly rapey’, it’s probably too ‘rapey'” litmus test is mind boggling.

  75. @delphi_ote:

    Like I said the validity of the scenario is irrelevant. It’s her ability to make a choice that’s important. She’s not under any sort of mind control, she wasn’t forced, and she made the decision.

    She may not be thinking rationally but so what? To imply she’s no longer fit to give consent because the situation was manipulated around her suggests we’re only ever accountable for the choices we make when we rationally think them through.

    People make good and bad choices in all sorts of varying circumstances, yet we’re still accountable for our own actions.

  76. I don’t know any guys that went to such elaborate efforts to deceive a woman in order to have sex. But I have encountered guys who readily told women that the women were interesting, attractive, they loved them , they were looking for a serious relationship or whatever just to get the woman in bed.

  77. So this is something that has been on my mind a lot lately, about how rape and consent are portrayed in the media.

    If person A tricks person B into having sex with them, to such a degree that we are 100% sure that B would never ever have sex with them if it wasn’t for the deception, is that rape?

    They can use fear, greed, misinformation, anything. They do not use ultimatums (have sex with me or the world will end), but that’s it.
    If you con someone into giving consent, is the consent actually given?

  78. @Kimbo Jones: We all do. Collectively. As a culture. Through dialogue. That’s how we have to deal with all manner of insults and offense. Manners and politeness are social constructs we build together. Handing any beleaguered group the absolute authority to dictate where the line is kills the very dialogue that creates real cultural understanding and good will. We have to have dialogue if we expect to produce new social norms.

    If a white person can’t make decisions about what is racist or a man can’t figure out what constitutes sexism or a Christian can’t think about anti-Semitism, then any sympathetic member of a privileged group can’t really do anything to defend the underprivileged or teach other members of the privileged class to be more tolerant. The struggle for change becomes a conflict with absolute bounds around each social group. “Us” against “them”. That’s no way to make progress.

    If anyone tells us something is sexist, racist, classist, ableist, etc. we should all be free to ask things like “Why does that person see it that way? How offensive is this thing? What is the underlying history? To what degree was the offense intentional? Is it a reasonable burden on society to accommodate a change in our collective behavior to avoid future offense? Is there an underlying principle we could generalize to cause even less offense?” Then the culture changes.

    The minority has to be ready and willing explain why they are offended. “Because I belong to this minority group, you have no right to question my offense,” is not an acceptable answer.

  79. if we remove the sex/rape scenario and put in something else.

    same deal, que TV news segment, people run out.

    she looks at the guy that hit on her 10 seconds earlier, pulls out a gun and shoots him in the head.

    is she accountable?

  80. @ BeardofPants: Nope, I don’t think it’s OK to deceive for sex. But that was never my point. My point was always why something so meaningless as a commercial, with all apologies to Tracy, was being used as a lightning rod for something as serious as rape.

  81. @delphi_ote: Of course not, the two scenarios aren’t even slightly similar.

    Being intoxicated to the point that you’re unable to give consent is different from consenting when you’re expecting there to be no repercussions.

    If you think her only course of action was to have sex with the guy then I can see where you’re coming from. However I don’t think that’s all she could have done which is why I consider it her choice.

  82. “@ BeardofPants: Nope, I don’t think it’s OK to deceive for sex. But that was never my point. My point was always why something so meaningless as a commercial, with all apologies to Tracy, was being used as a lightning rod for something as serious as rape.”

    I remember a commercial for an insurance company. The narrator was waxing nostalgic for the good old days and the text was saying how the insurance company protects your family…then it pans from the happy white family to the black gardener who smiles and waves and the caption reads “and your property”

    Probably a hilarious mistake, but WHY would people be offended that this commercial is a lightning rod for something as serious as racism?

  83. “That’s what I was getting at, she’s making a decision based on the lack of repercussions opposed to the news putting her in a state of mind where by she can’t conceivably control her own actions.”

    No one is arguing she’s an automaton moved to this because of stimulus or that “oh she don’t know better silly woman”. The point is man a) is using trickery to induce a change in mental state (in this case panic…which yes people do not weight decisions well in panicked states…there is a lot of psychological studies on this response…) so that she fucks with him where previously she wouldn’t.

    basic points
    a) turned down male, does not take NO as no
    b) male uses external effects to change woman’s mental state
    c) No becomes yes

    The likelihood is not required to make it rape lite(tm). Just the skeezyness.

    Let’s rewrite the example, instead of doomsday, he has a glamour spell that makes him look like Hugh Jackman. He posses as Hugh Jackman hits on her as Hugh Jackman and gets her to fuck with him because she thinks he is Hugh Jackman. Despite the consent is this rapey?

    If you have to defend it or can only sleep with someone through deception, it’s not a nice thing to do and has some level of rapeness or rape lite(tm).

    Women on ruffies will consent to sex, because their ability to judge consequences and all that is gone. How is that different from removing the idea of consequences (ie end of the world illusion)? So ruffie/rapeies are now not rape?

  84. I don’t see how anyone could be offended by this, first of all its a commercial! Not only did noone get “raped”- noone even had sex! She initiated the contact so even mention “rape” in the same breath as this commercial is demeaning to actual victims. It’s a JOKE, they’re saying ‘could you imagine actually doing this?’ and the answer is no, noone would actually do this. I think people are just looking for things to offend them sometimes

  85. “She initiated the contact so even mention “rape” in the same breath as this commercial is demeaning to actual victims.”

    Again see drug example.

    Put it this way. Would she have slept with him without this event? evidence shows no…hell maybe if he acted like a human being and got to know her, down the road yes. that’s not what happened. The decision was to “Fuck with her mind” so get her to consent.

    Similar example. Twin impersonates his brother to have sex with his sister in-law. Rape? Even if she initiates and all he does is not correct her mistake?

    “She initiated the contact so even mention “rape” in the same breath as this commercial is demeaning to actual victims.”

    Read Mai Angelo’s account of her abuse, to see why this is completely invalid. By HER account her initiated the relationship as a child…and she was still raped by her step father. I might add what you said was more or less EXACTLY what the defense argued.

  86. @delphi_ote: I think you’ve misunderstood the concept of privilege. What Eliza was saying was that no white person, for example, has the right to tell a black person that they shouldn’t be offended by something that they feel is racist. The white person being unable to see how something is racist is possibly a reflection of their privilege, not an indication that the event is actually non-racist and the black person is being “unreasonable”. Telling the black person, in this example, that whatever happened was not racist is a position of privileged ignorance.

    This is a difficult social concept that can be almost impossible for people in a position of privilege to wrap their heads around, so I understand how it’s hard, but please don’t turn the debate into “I think it’s bullshit that whites aren’t ‘allowed’ to comment on issues of race” – that’s not what acknowledging privilege is and I don’t think any reasonable person would make the argument that people in a certain position aren’t allowed to comment. It’s just that they possibly don’t (or can’t) understand why something is offensive because they aren’t part of that group and don’t have the same experiences.

  87. Thought I would mention this interesting coverage of recent research on date rapists:
    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/03/25/predator-theory/

    “It is the modus operandi that keeps the undetected rapist undetected: they correctly identify a methodology that will put them under the protection of the rape culture. They are unlikely to be convicted because the story doesn’t fit the script. In fact, they are unlikely to be arrested because the story doesn’t lead to easy convictions. In fact, they are unlikely to be reported because rape survivors know that the tactics these men use leave them with little real recourse. In fact, these rapists may put the victim in a position where she is so intoxicated or terrified or just isolated and defeated that she never even says “no,” and because the culture overwhelmingly refuses to call these tactics what they are, even the victims themselves may be unable to call it rape for a very long time afterward, if ever. “

  88. Also, of course: http://www.derailingfordummies.com/

    Specifically:

    You’re Being Overemotional
    You’re Just Oversensitive
    Don’t You Have More Important Issues To Think About
    Your Experience Is Not Representative Of Everyone
    Unless You Can Prove Your Experience Is Widespread I Won’t Believe It
    Well I Know Another Person From Your Group Who Disagrees!
    A In B Situation Is Not Equivalent To X In Y Situation
    You’ve Lost Your Temper So I Don’t Have To Listen To You Anymore

  89. In skepticism we try to identify our own biases and in that way we can think more critically, yes? Privilege is a form of personal bias that can sometimes prevent people from thinking critically about social issues and can lead to things like “geez, guyz, I don’t understand why ur freaking out about a stoopid commercial”.

  90. “You’ve Lost Your Temper So I Don’t Have To Listen To You Anymore”

    God, do I hear that a lot. I want to inform people from the get go that I have not “Lost” my temper…I never had one to begin with. Lacking temper is my base line damn it. People SHOULD be upset with bullshit…

  91. “It’s a JOKE, they’re saying ‘could you imagine actually doing this?’ and the answer is no, noone would actually do this. I think people are just looking for things to offend them sometimes”

    Which is WHY people are upset. Date Rape and Rape Lite ™ (NOW WITH SPLENDA!) are seen as fun joke material. Oh hahahah she slept with someone she didn’t want to, HIIIIIIIIIIIILAAAAAAAAAAAARIOUS. Hehe silly slut!

  92. @mikekoz68: There is merit in evaluating and discussing why this kind of “joke” is so pervasive. Why is it funny to imagine a man going to such great manipulative lengths to get sex? Who is the intended audience? Why should they find this funny? What is the message?

    Why is a commercial automatically inconsequential enough to be not worth discussion? Commercials are seen my millions of people, they are a big part of our society – as such, they are subject to scrutiny for their collective contribution to media messages. If you don’t want to discuss it, don’t. But what is the point of taking the piss out of other people who see the merit in this discussion? It’s “just” a discussion…

  93. If commercials were inconsequential no one would buy them.

    Commercials exist to spread memes/ideas. The intendedone is ‘OUR PRODUCT IS AWESOME” but it can readily spread non-intended memes as well. An example could be the Scion “Little Deviants add” which repulsed people…the intended message of “Our cars are rebellious” was overshadowed by the unintended “It’s fun to go out and kill people who you view as conformists” The Tacobell commercials failed because “tacos rule” was over shadowed by “look at the cute dog”. The old PSP commercials with squirrels or dust balls engaging in UncleTomfoolery intended to convey “PSP is hip yo, ya dig?” but also conveyed “black people are hilariously ignorant and stupid” The enzyte commercials intend to say “CLIK H3R3 for Huge P3N!S” but actually send the message ‘…Seven days…”

    Commercials ARE influential, that’s why so much is invested in them.

  94. Wow, 143 posts and you guys missed the most obvious conclusion! This woman just hates talking, and loves fucking! She was planning on getting liquored up before taking the guy home, but when forced to prioritize, she went for the sex.

    Just kidding, this one really brought some assholes out of the woodwork though, eh?

  95. @mikekoz68: Do you think that maaaaaybe, just maaaaaaaaaybeeee, I used the phrase “A BIT RAPEY” precisely because I am not comparing this to the black-and-white-issue rapes that you appear to think constitute all rapes?

    Something can be tomatoey without being a tomato, dude.

  96. My thoughts because I know everyone cares. And I’ll be succinct which means asking questions and then answering them.

    Rapey? yes. Unethical and immoral? Yes, but only in real life. I don’t get offended by fake things, you can if you like but I think it’s a waste of time.

    Disturbing? no. Real rape is disturbing. Guy getting his head cut off is disturbing. Baby being cooked alive in a microwave is disturbing (I know a joke along those lines)

    There are no sacred cows for me when it comes to jokes and other fiction. Real life is the place to be angry, not commercials. No I don’t think this influences or reenforces ideas about rape just like how movies, tv, and video games don’t change ones ideas about violence or sex.

    If you think so I would love to see the evidence (I know that sounds snarky but in all seriousness I would)

  97. @Kimbo Jones: This is a difficult social concept that can be almost impossible for people in a position of privilege to wrap their heads around

    So you must not be able to fully wrap your head around it either, right? I assume you’re part of some privileged group, and are therefore not fully able to understand. Forgive me, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to wait for the most under-privileged person in the world to truly speak with authority on this matter.

    Or does it only work that way when you want to dismiss what someone else is saying without presenting an argument that has merit?

  98. “No I don’t think this influences or reenforces ideas about rape just like how movies, tv, and video games don’t change ones ideas about violence or sex.”

    If you don’t think the art and media you take up influences you, you’re doing it wrong.

  99. “So you must not be able to fully wrap your head around it either, right? I assume you’re part of some privileged group, and are therefore not fully able to understand. Forgive me, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to wait for the most under-privileged person in the world to truly speak with authority on this matter.

    Or does it only work that way when you want to dismiss what someone else is saying without presenting an argument that has merit?”

    Hey look, there goes the point…sorry too late, ya missed it.

  100. @DanielMcL: @delphi_ote: Of course not, the two scenarios aren’t even slightly similar.

    Being intoxicated to the point that you’re unable to give consent is different from consenting when you’re expecting there to be no repercussions.

    So if he dressed up has her husband to trick her into sleeping with him, then it’s all kosher? I can’t wait to hear you invent another ad hoc way to justify what happened in this ad!

  101. Ahh skepchick. I come for the science and skepticism, and I stay for the rage.

    I think just having these discussions accomplishes the sorts of cultural scrutiny that most of the people who dislike this commercial want. Some people might feel strongly one way, and some the other way, but you can bet a lot more people in the middle are going to be at least paying more attention to cultural images and stereotypes.

  102. It bugs me that we live in a world where this commercial would make NO sense if the gender roles were reversed. Imagine a girl going up to a guy in a bar, getting turned down, then a news report about a meteor comes on and she scores with him.

    People would watch that be entirely confused for many reasons.

    @Expatria “…it’s been a long standing cultural trope to treat women as “Keepers of the Sex” and I get WHY that trope persists.”

    Probably because it is that way?

    @Expatria “But I guess an ad that says: “Gentlemen: Men and women BOTH like sex. Sooner or later, perhaps a woman with whom you would like to have sex will also want to have sex with you, and MAY even make this clear without you having to lie, cheat, or steal your way into her pants. But if she doesn’t, then you should leave her alone, go home, and have a wank. Oh, and drink Pepsi Max!” wouldn’t be as successful”

    Actually, I’d contend that an ad that said exactly that would get more media attention than a Superbowl commercial and it would be monstrously successful because of it’s originality.

    Ok I know I’ll catch hell for this but… (and apologies if this point has been made, I haven’t had the time to read all the other comments)

    Say you approach a woman in a bar and ask to join her and she turns you down, then instead of a fake news report, you come back and say “hey maybe we got off on the wrong foot, let me buy you a drink, etc” and it turns out you like the same bands or whatever, you hit it off, eventually set up another date, and 3 weeks later you sleep with her and afterward return to the bar, high five your friends and start the process over, never having intended to pursue her beyond the first time you had sex with her. Isn’t that tricking her? Instead of spending time on making a fake video, you’ve spent your time convincing her that you’re ‘spongeworthy’ to quote an episode of Seinfeld. It’s a different kind of lie, and arguably the girl enjoys the interval between meeting at the bar and the time the guy returns for his high five, but is it any less dishonest? I know a few people like this, they invest all that time in the girl but they’re only after the first encounter, then they’re back on the hunt. Seems inefficient to me. Once you’ve opened the door to sexy time, you don’t have to run nearly the same gauntlet to get back there – but a lot of guys operate like this and girls accept that there are guys like this but I’ve never heard anyone call that behavior ‘rapey’.

  103. @Dynotaku

    Why go through all that trouble? If you want commitment free casual sex, there are communities and the such and services on the net to hook you up with people who share that interest.

    Seriously, When I went from highschool to college I was amazed to learn how easy finding sex can be.

  104. @Dynotaku: I have a friend who used to do that (create mini relationships with each hookup) and I thought it was manipulative and disgusting. There are white lies to make yourself more appealing and there’s outright emotional manipulation, both the above commercial (as absurd as the scenario is) and said friend’s little scheme to bone people who were interested in relationships fall into the latter category.

  105. @Ing213:
    I suspect some guys that use deception get a big part of their satisfaction from the act of manipulation that they use to get a woman into bed . Its the act of hunting and catching that they enjoy as much as the sex. That’s why they continually chase something new. They want a challenge to test themselves. They don’t want a “sure thing”.

  106. Since you have all been pining to know what I think, I have deigned to share my opinion with all those who read here.

    The issue of this being “rapey” implies that there are various degrees of rape. To expand on that, there should also be “kind of raped”, “mostly raped”, “hardly raped”, etc. I think we all know that this isn’t the case, and implying as much would detract from those that have actually dealt with rape in their lives.

    As to the meat of this commercial (no pun intended), the man in the commercial did alter the woman’s perception of reality via the fake news report. However, we have to ask if that particular circumstance removed the woman’s ability to choose whether or not to have sex with this particular man. The set-up certainly doesn’t imply that the world will end if she doesn’t have sex with him, so is he placing her under duress? The legal definition of duress is “such constraint or coercion as will render void a contract or other legal act entered or performed under its influence.” The legal act is consenting sex between adults, in this commercial. The first part of the commercial indicates that she was not going to have any kind of relations with him, much less sexual. So, strictly following the legal definition, he did induce duress. Further, does this situation constitute rape? The legal definition of rape (from criminal.findlaw.com) states that rape “generally refers to non-consensual sexual intercourse that is committed by physical force, threat of injury, or other duress.”

    So, depending on particulars in your are of residence, this could very well be considered rape. That makes this Pepsi commercial a rape commercial, QED*. Which is why I only drink Coke.

    *Ironically, as you may be able to discern from some of my wording, I intended this post to say “no, this clearly isn’t rape” but followed the evidence to the logical and opposite conclusion.

  107. I think that saying “kind of rapey” is different than saying rape (I think it also might be a reference to “Peep Show”, in which it was used pretty hilariously), but I would use “uncomfortably emotionally manipulative” in lieu of the ‘R’-word, to be more clear and more sensative to actual rape victims if they opposed to the term. The “degrees of rape” thing gets a little sticky, but otherwise I think it’s pretty accurate.

    edit: HAH, I totally glazed over after your first paragraph and a half and didn’t even catch the ending.

  108. I haven’t read all of the posts but reading through a number of them I hesitate to respond. The opinions on this one seem quite strong.

    So, fools rush in…I’m not sure that there should be lines that can’t be crossed. There are lines that I find distasteful. I certainly find rape distasteful and I can understand the argument that such an act, if real, would constitute unethical if not immoral behavior.

    But then some of my favorite shows cross these lines all of the time. Family Guy for instance deals with murder, child molestation, the handicapped, incest, bestiality, rape (yes rape see Quagmire’s roofie coladas), etc. Are these things really not something that can be made fun of in any way shape or form? Is Family Guy ok and Pepsi wrong or do you folks find Family Guy morally repugnant?

    Does the majority here believe that there is only one way to view the ad and that we must all agree that this is morally repugnant and anyone who finds otherwise is morally suspect? Really?

  109. No one responded to justv26, what about the movie “The Invention of Lying” where Ricky Gervais lies to a woman telling her the world will end if she doesn’t sleep with him. Anyone have a response about the movie?

  110. For me, I’m much more forgiving of a movie (or other art) than I am of a commercial that is using that message to sell something.

    I think that art has the potential to be more morally ambiguous as far as what it’s promoting and it’s not always clear whether the artist agrees with the actions on screen/canvas/whatever. Many times it is in the interest of the artist to create a character that is not a good person without necessarily saying “you should be like this person.”

  111. mikerattlesnake, so, there are circumstances where making jokes about rape is permissible and circumstances where they are not. Sounds like specail pleading to me.

    I don’t think the commercial is saying what people should be like or what they should do. I think it’s simply art. I think it’s humor for the purpose of selling something. Like the Family man and the Gervaise movie it’s trying to get us to laugh. Most of us are capable of separating fact from fantasy. I doubt anyone thinks that it is a plausible scenario. I doubt anyone thinks, oh, this would be ok because it’s a commercial.

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