May 7, 2010

Windows 7: No Fat Chicks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Melanie @ 8:27 pm

A few years ago, Apple released a brand new ad campaign.  “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” was an instant hit, starring hipster movie star Justin Long and John Hodgman, and ran for years, generating lots of revenue for Apple.  Microsoft‘s rebuttals to this fell flat for quite some time, but their new ad campaign for Windows 7 proved successful.  Instead of focusing on mocking Apple, they highlighted the features of the new operating system, as told by “real people”, stating “Windows 7 was my idea.“  The first two ads I saw featured overweight, older men who are shown imagining idealized versions of themselves (as male models) when they “get the idea” for Windows 7.

I laughed, I loved it, and then I watched a commercial break a couple months back – same campaign, one major difference.  This ad utilized the same concept, except the latest ads featured women, all of whom are pretty enough that they could be the “ideal” person, the model that someone imagines themselves as.  Their “ideals” are women who are heavily made-up, and appear to be digitally enhanced.

I think those pictures speak for themselves, yes?

There are two theories that I hold about where Microsoft is coming from with this approach.  Either they are completely unwilling to show an “unattractive,”  overweight woman in their ad because, ew, that’s gross.  Or they deem these women “not worthy enough” and think they’re on the same level of attractiveness as the “regular” men in their ads.  One of the criticisms of the “beauty norm” is the double standard – men are allowed to be unattractive, women aren’t – I’d say that applies here.  The YouTube upload dates on the Windows 7 official page shows they set a precedent with the original ads – Steve, Jack, and Widmark were uploaded late last year, followed by Charline and Crystal in more recent months.  I would have deemed this a successful and funny campaign if they had been equal in their treatment of both genders.  Instead, they just cemented the fact that I’m a Mac.


  1. I completely agree with both theories. The fact that Microsoft is unwilling to be associated with overweight or “unattractive” women clearly demonstrates the position of these women in society, as well as the negative implications/connotations involved. Also, Microsoft is perpetuating the double standard between men and women’s looks: men are still taken seriously even though they are overweight, unattractive, etc. So wrong!!

    Comment by Jennifer Edgerton — October 24, 2010 @ 12:22 am

  2. I also see those adds and i never understood why they had the enhanced versions of themselves, but now it makes total sense! Its totally wack how women are urged to look skinny , attractive etc, but men can be fat and ugly but still get that hot chick. Microsoft is showing through there add that they agree with the double standard and that totally wrong!

    Comment by delylam — October 28, 2010 @ 11:02 am

  3. I didn’t realize to what extent the media illustrates women and men in society but after looking at this post and our discussion in class I can’t believe how we are shown. I also agree with Jennifer that ads like this that we’ve been shown for so long reemphasize that men maintain their respect and position in society regardless of how physically attractive they are (to some extent), while women need to maintain the “ideal” physical appearance or be relatively close to it to be taken seriously and acknowledged.

    Comment by Melody J — October 28, 2010 @ 11:03 am

  4. I think you are collectively missing the point. The commercials show how we like to think of ourselves as more attractive/ fit/ suave/ whatever in our own memories. The commercials portray more attractive men and women in them. There is no conspiracy, there is no double standard. The key is that when we devote ourselves toward a goal, whether business stature, physical fitness, or material wealth, we become more attractive because of the confidence we exude as a result of our accomplishments, not physical attributes. You won’t change society. Focus on being happy with who you are, and be the best you that you can be!

    Comment by AZ Stang — November 21, 2010 @ 6:44 pm

  5. @AZ

    The issue I have with Windows/Microsoft isn’t the concept of the ad campaign. I mention early in my post that when I saw the first couple of ads, I thought it was clever. The issue is that while all of the men are overweight/middle aged in “real life”, the “real life” women are already supermodel-skinny-and-pretty-with-perfect-hair-and-make-up.

    Comment by Rachel O — December 6, 2010 @ 11:03 pm

  6. I love how the idealized men and women in these ad campaigns are clearly touched up in comparison to their “normal and average” self. Some of their features include glossy hair, shaven faces, thin/muscular physique, and other beauty standards backed up by mainstream media images. I also noticed that the is a greater amount of light casted upon the idealized models to make them seem more unique, desirable, “the one”, the all-encompassing figure.

    Comment by Bridget T. — December 6, 2011 @ 11:03 am

  7. This beauty double standard is a constant in the media. There are so many advertisements that have male actors/models who look “normal,” they can be chubby, not the most attractive, and balding, but all the commercials that have women, use women that are fully made up, skinny, and do not represent the female population as a whole. For example I am not sure what brand the ad is made for but their is an ad on tv for some food product that takes place at the beach, it features men who look “normal” but women with tight little bodies in skimpy little bikinis, once again demonstrating the beauty double standard.

    Comment by Chloe Shenassa (women studies 10 scholars) — December 6, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment