Pre-Owned Vehicle = Non-Virgin Woman?

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Oh dear. Another day, another questionable advertising decision. Via Sociological Images, this Canadian ad for used cars compares them to women who aren’t virgins. “You know you’re not the first” the ad reads. “But do you really care?” The message seems to be it’s okay for cars to be used (and for women to have more than one lover) if they’re very aesthetically pleasing.

Oy. Firstly, it’s a bit sexist to assume every man wants to be a woman’s first. Virginal sex can = awkward sex. Secondly, naturally women are being judged on their “number” and not men. Thirdly, just because it looks good on the outside doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong under the hood, so to speak. (Side note: during a routine HIV test, I once had a nurse tell me I was the “perfect” vehicle to transmit the virus because I was so “clean” and “wholesome”.) And finally, why? Just… why? I don’t understand how these things actually make it to print without someone saying along the way, “Hey, maybe we should rethink this because it could turn off half of our customer base.”

The owner of the dealership that created the ad describes himself as “professional” and “people-oriented” but also says that his family-owned business provides an “excellent selection of competitively priced, great-looking cars with lots of curb appeal. These beauties draw auto fans from far and wide, and have given rise to the dealership’s well-known slogan: Hot Deals, Cool Wheels!” Okay, okay, I get the idea of describing cars like women, but the ad seems to take it a tad too far. “She’s a beaut!” is quite a bit different from “She’s not a virgin, but she still looks great! How much do you want to pay for her?”

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