Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let's Get Santa

Best Buy has been running a series of commercials (sorry I'm watching too much television while recuping) in which a young mother takes on Santa Claus.

Is this really a good idea?

First, it makes Christmas giving into a competitive event. Admittedly, it makes it a women against men competitive event, with the women winning. That part probably is good, given the third or fourth wave feminist attitudes I see in the young women I teach.

But these women don't just win, they win in ways that allow them to gloat. One relegates Santa to giving toys to the dog. A second Ims Santa to the phones on the tree – to which Santa, like a defeated bf responds, “Very mature.” The third meets Santa on the housetop and topples a plastic elf onto the lawn in a sort of “watch out fat-man or you're next” threat.

OK, so maybe this is empowering. I don't know. I'm not a young woman (in case you haven't noticed). But this is Santa Claus. For much of his life he's imaged without a woman. The whole Mrs. Claus thing is just a cover to give the elves some breathing room. This is Santa, the jolly fat celibate who sneaks into your house to bring toys and jollies and eat cookies. This is a beloved, if somewhat weird, elder statesman of the holiday season. Is it really a good idea to humiliate Santa? Does that really make you see powerful – or just petty?

My vote is for the latter choice. I don't like the Best Buy commercials. They certainly haven't made me want to shop at Best Buy. I don't have a thousand dollars to blow on Android Powered Smart Phones for the whole family. In fact, the only way my family is going to get that technology is if Santa delivers them. But then, I'm not – as I've already said – a young woman looking for empowering experiences by humiliating Saint Nick.

1 comment:

iotaguy said...

Can I just say how refreshing it is to be in Japan - without a TV no less - during the holidays? Not because I dislike Christmas, though I'm not a huge fan of the holiday, but because of crap like this. I know it's not a new complaint, and it's vaguely hip to knock the consumerism side of the holiday. Maybe it's because in Japan, there's always another gift giving opportunity around the corner, but most of these events aren't quite as heavily pushed. The one downside to Christmas in Japan? "Last Christmas" by Wham. That song is everywhere. In many different versions. It's a gawd awful song, and it's made worse by having it sung by a bunch of kids. Kids singing in a school play are cute. On the radio? Not so much. I much prefer Run-DMC's Christmas song, which I did, in fact, hear in the local Target like store.