Viral Snickers Commercial Fails To Subvert Gender Bias

This construction worker street harassment commercial had good intentions, but lazy writing and execution.
By Gaby Dunn
  • Snickers: Aussie Builders surprise public with loud empowering statements

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    The intentions behind this Snickers Australia commercial were probably good. Show some typical boorish construction worker behavior, but twist their words and make them feminist.

    Unfortunately, the execution is lazy and not very clever. The problem with street harassment is only partly about what the harassers are saying. It’s more about the idea that women are public property to be hollered at, at all.

    On YouTube, Snickers described the video as “Aussie builders call out empowering statements to unsuspecting members of the public,” but that’s not the case. The call outs are only to women, and the statements are empowering on paper, but speaking as a woman, it’s still just as annoying to have your day disrupted, even by a well-meaning unsolicited yell.

    Snickers claims the video features “members of the general public” though it could be that all the women are actresses who knew they were going to hollered at. Even if that’s the case, the video claims the builders are “not being themselves,” which normalizes and excuses the bad behavior as typically male.

    Snickers misses the point of why street harassment is so demeaning. Don’t call out to women at all. Let them go about their day without hearing from you. You’re busy. They’re busy. Why say anything to them just because of their gender? Don’t normalize this behavior which paints all men as inconsiderate, when that’s not the case. Men should be annoyed by commercials continuing to paint them as sexist doofs, too.

    The commercial only starts to make sense when the construction workers stop calling out to specific women, and begin chanting about equality. But then it’s all ruined by the Snickers tagline, “You’re not you when you’re hungry.”

    So the construction workers are only themselves when being misogynists and by eating Snickers they’ll go back to that?

    Worst of all, the commercial isn’t funny. It’s full of tired gender stereotypes that make both men and women look bad. And no chocolate and nougat coating is going to make that taste good.