A Stupid, Sexist Vitamin Commercial
I saw a commercial last night for multivitamin “One a Day Teen Advantage,” which established early on that there was a formula for “her” and a formula for “him,” along with video of a teen girl and boy and some comment about how they’re practically from different planets.
Now, I have no idea what a special multivitamin formulation for adolescent males might include – what are teen boys routinely not getting enough of that is male-specific? Likewise, you might expect that the tagline on the formula for “her” might say something about building strong bones. You’d be wrong.
The pitch? The formulas are “for her healthy skin and for his healthy muscles.” You know, because girls are only worried about their skin (and boys aren’t), and boys should be focused on muscles (something girls apparently have no need for).
Similarly, the website says the vitamins address “the top health concerns of moms and teens.” Apparently moms are super-worried about “her skin” and “his muscles.” Right.
As it turns out, the “for her” formula actually does have double the Vitamin D and 50% more calcium than the “boy” formula, and double the iron. The website claims it has “Healthy skin with Vitamins A and C, Copper, and Iron (for Her)” although of those only the iron amounts are different between the two formulas. Iron is never mentioned as a concern for menstruating girls, but is just addressed as a skin issue.
For boys, the site says the vitamin has “Healthy muscle function with Magnesium (for Him),” and the “him” formula does have double the magnesium of “hers.” There are some slight differences for things like B12. Both formulas have the exact same amount of folic acid.
I was just entirely put off by the notion that the health/nutrition/vitamin needs of teen girls revolve around skin appearance, compared to muscles for boys – one focus is appearance, while the other is function, and the idea that the listed concerns may overlap between the sexes is completely ignored.