Hate Women, Make Money: 8 Ads and Products That Take Sexism to New Lows

A Texas signage company recently made the Internet angry by using an image of a woman who has been bound, gagged and held captive in the back of a truck to sell tailgate decals.

The image is violent and disgusting, but here’s the other troubling thing: It did exactly what owner Brad Kolb intended — drum up new business.

After noting that the decal had brought in new customers, Kolb remarked to a local news station the he “wasn’t expecting the reactions we got, nor do we condone this by any means.” In fact, he is now trying to spin the stunt as an effort to raise awareness about violence against women.

Kolb probably felt pretty comfortable using blatantly misogynistic imagery to make money because there’s a good marketing precedent for this kind of thing. Plenty of ads use women’s bodies and women’s sexuality to sell products, and those ads are undoubtedly sexist and deserving of critique. But some companies take rank misogyny to new lows, cutting away with metaphors and quietly offensive assumptions about gender to let raw contempt for women and a disregard for their safety stand front and center.

A roundup of nine of the worst ads we’ve seen recently:


Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.