Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Helpless" women on TV, and why it drives me nuts

I just saw a television commercial that resonated with one of my pet peeves. It's for a Ford car which has a built-in computer that tracks the service requirements on the car and sends you an email when something like an oil change is needed. The girl in the commercial (and I use the term intentionally) looked to be in her mid-20's and would certainly have been driving several years, said something like "I don't know when my car needs an oil change."

Well, sweetie, there's a built-in piece of equipment on your car that can tell you that, and it's not the computer. It's called the odometer.

Look in your manual and see how many miles between oil changes are recommended by the manufacturer. Or ask the guy at the service station ('cause I'm betting you never did it yourself). Note the number of miles on the odometer; add the miles between oil change and write that down in your manual. Now, watch the odometer. When it gets to that mileage, change the oil. It's S-I-M-P-L-E.

Well, the curmudgeon in me just came out.

You see, I not only don't think we need to rely on a computer tracking such simple things for us, we ought to actually know how to do them ourselves. Not that we would always have to do them instead of going to the garage, but we ought to know enough about our cars to be able to. And know enough to recognize if a mechanic is blowing smoke. A little knowledge can save you a bundle of money.

It has always been my stance that before a person gets a driver's license, they should have to take a class on basic auto mechanics and maintenance. Learn how the thing works. So many people have no knowledge of how a car is constructed and how it operates. If they get in and turn the key and it starts, great. If it doesn't, they don't have a clue. This class doesn't need to be as rigorous as, for example, a high school automotive shop class, but should cover the basics. How an internal combustion engine works, what maintenance is required, where all the components are located, how to change oil, change a tire, check tire pressure, check fluids, change an air filter, etc. The basics.

Helpless women get on my nerves. Representing helpless women in commercials like that is the norm and it's OK - well, that makes me crazy.


Elaine Adair said...

You asked for it - I AGREEEEE! And I have found that the helpless women get the most attention. Explain that to me. Here I am, trying to be independant, usually capable, reliable, trustworthy, fairy clever with household chores and maintenance, I know what worn wheel bearings sound like, when brakes need fixing, but it seems the gals who know nothing always get an extra hand. Why is that? grumble, grumgle,

Paula, the quilter said...

I had car problems in Iowa one time and ended up being towed to the dealership in Council Bluffs. They opened the car up and then quit for the night. *sigh* Ended up in a dive motel. Next day, the service manager said I needed a new carburetor. Say what? What beet truck did he think I fell off? I told him that the engine did not have a carburetor because it was fuel injected. Please button it back up and not do a thing. Turned out I got some bad gas. Made it home fine and dandy.

Linda said...

My husband and I make it a game to rate commercials from 1 to 10 according to how insultig to our intelligence they can be (10 being extremly insulting). Of course, we only get to do that every so often because the commericials are repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated....aarrrrggghhhh!

Joan J said...

Count me in on this one! There are so many insulting commercials out there. My pet peeve are all the new products that supposedly make life easier. Frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pre-made soup, pre-mashed potatoes...ugh ugh and more ugh! Commercials assume we're all blithering idiots that can accomplish nothing on our own - from cooking to car care to housecleaning to (more recently) sex!