What if jeans are a weapon? On Levi’s sexist, war-happy advertising…

Last week the Levi’s Dockers “wear the pants” ad campaign received quite a bit of feminist critique for its obvious sexism. (For example, see here and here.)

Not happy with promoting misogyny alone, Levi’s has another ad using Walt Whitman’s “Pioneers, O Pioneers” that promotes battle-happy manifest-destiny.

Wow, who knew pants could be such a rallying cry.

Using the text of Whitman’s poem, which celebrates Westward expansion and the American “children” who stomp their way across the globe, the Levi’s commercial celebrates wild, angry youth. They bang things against fences, rage against constraint, dance around raging fires, rip off their shirts and march west in triumph.

How ironic the commercial celebrates youthful rebellion and anarchy in order to ultimately promote conformity – conformity to buying into a corporate brand, a normative style, and into the idea that FIGHTING is the answer. Yes, buy your over-priced jeans and you too can “bear the brunt of danger” and celebrate American imperialism. Woo-hoo!
If you feel like writing a letter to Levi Strauss to tell them where they can stick their pants, go here.

For a letter campaign opposing the Docker’s ad, go here.


3 thoughts on “What if jeans are a weapon? On Levi’s sexist, war-happy advertising…”

  1. First they use sexism and now they use racism. I guess we’ll be seeing a homophobic version too.

    “Once upon a time, white men wore the pants, and wore them well. Black men rarely had to worry about measuring up and little old black men were happy on the plantation. White men took charge because that’s what they did. But somewhere along the way, the world decided it no longer needed white men. Urban by urban, wigger by silly pride-free wigger, white men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and racial equality. But today, there are questions our race-free society has no answers for. The world sits idly by as cities crumble, children misbehave and those little old black men are longing for the plantation. For the first time since bad guys, we need heroes. We need grown-ups. We need white men to pull up their pants, turn off the rap and hip-hop, and untie the world from the tracks of complacency. It’s time to get your hands dirty. It’s time to answer the call of white male supremacy. It’s time to wear the pants.”

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