Skip to content

A Stupid, Sexist Vitamin Commercial

October 31, 2008

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.

Blech.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2008 9:56 am

    Amen. I saw that last night and just about fell off my couch.

  2. October 31, 2008 12:33 pm

    I’m so glad you mentioned this. I heard the commercial while flying around cooking supper last night, and barely had time to register my gag-reflex-response before the pasta boiled over and I was hit with two homework-related questions at the same time.

    At the top of the commercial I thought, “well different for boys and girls. Logical.” But, oh, that punchline! Yuck!

  3. October 31, 2008 12:34 pm

    I’m so glad you mentioned this. I heard the commercial while flying around cooking supper last night, and barely had time to register my gag-reflex-response before the pasta boiled over and I was hit with two homework-related questions at the same time.

    At the top of the commercial I thought, “Well, different for boys and girls. Logical.” But, oh, that punchline! Yuck!

  4. October 31, 2008 12:38 pm

    Sorry for the double post. My internet connection blinked off a second after I hit “submit.” Dadblamed solar wind🙂

  5. October 31, 2008 2:24 pm

    I’ve seen that commercial and the first thing I thought was what you posted. Except not in those exact words. Probably one of the most blatant marketing tactics going for the superficial “looks is everything” approach we so honor in this society.

  6. October 31, 2008 2:46 pm

    I haven’t seen the commercial, but you raise an interesting point. No one tells teenage girls that they may experience iron deficiency as a result of menstruation. It took me several years before I found out that, while I’m not anemic, my iron count is on the low end of “normal.”

  7. Kevin permalink
    November 2, 2008 1:30 am

    My friend and I both realized tonight that when, by ourselves, when we saw this commercial for the first time, we had the exact same reaction to it.

    It’s incredibly sexist, and I’m glad that there are at least three of us who think so.

  8. November 4, 2008 9:28 am

    I saw this commercial last night and was absolutely shocked. I agree that teen girls and teen boys have different nutritional needs, but what a horrible, sexist advertising campaign. Im sending a complaint to one-a-day about this.

  9. Jaquel permalink
    November 6, 2008 9:38 pm

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, PEOPLE!!! You all are definitely not alone in thinking that was one f-ed up commercial. Luckily, I haven’t seen it since…

  10. November 9, 2008 10:03 am

    YES! I just saw that commercial and RAN to my computer to rant. Outrageous!

  11. November 10, 2008 6:15 pm

    Dear lord. When will the world learn that girls/women are just people?

    Never, if the ad bods have their way. This his-and-hers kids clothing ad made me choke.

  12. Jinia permalink
    December 1, 2008 1:49 pm

    I felt the exact same way when I saw the commercial while watching television with my husband. We both laughed at the idiocracy of the marketers.

  13. Val permalink
    December 6, 2008 7:17 pm

    I’m actually in the process of writing an essay for my Cultural Anthropology class about this very commercial. I’ve seen it a few times now, and the sexism is just… nauseating. Its nice to see I’m not alone in my revulsion!

  14. Prof permalink
    January 22, 2009 10:24 pm

    It’s nice to see so many people who agree that this ad is archaic

  15. Fanta permalink
    February 7, 2009 10:57 pm

    I totally agree. That was just ignorant of them.

  16. Adina permalink
    March 11, 2009 1:33 pm

    I just saw this commercial and am so glad other people immediately felt the same way I did! It made me sick. Thank you for your posting. I hope we can pass along this feedback to the people at One A Day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: