I am not being sarcastic about this one, hence the Sunday posting, but I saw it yesterday and just began to applaud.
(The scene opens on a small boy in a nondescript, mostly neutrally-colored living room. Toys are placed on the floor all around him.
The boy begins unloading logs from the toy truck immediately in front of him, looking deep in concentration.)
One action figure, voiced by the little boy: Looks like our work is done here.
(The camera cuts between several more action figures of varying types before landing on a robot-looking one, then cutting back to the little boy.)
Action figure, continuing to speak: Nice work, team. I’m heading home.
(The truck begins to drive down the path, the little boy making car noises.)
Action figure voice: Need some help, ma’am?
(The truck hooks up to a pink horse trailer; a My Little Pony stands nearby, and a pink-haired, big-eyed doll is cut to next.)
Doll: Oh, thank you.
(The little boy makes more noises as his truck lifts a rocket so it points toward the sky; the little boy is then seen lifting the rocket.
The truck drives over roadblocks in the form of jacks and other such things, then brings two barrels over to a structure covered in monkeys.)
Action figure: These things are heavy.
(The little boy then loads the monkeys into their barrels before driving the truck over his reclining dog.
The truck pulls up to its house – a pink and white dollhouse – where a Lara Croft figure is waiting outside.)
Lara Croft: Hey, honey. I’m glad you’re home.
(Outside, a real truck pulls up.)
Announcer: Built for work and everything you work for.
(Wide-eyed, the little boy looks up to see his father climbing out of the truck. He then runs outside.)
Announcer: The 2012 Silverado HD. From fathers to sons, Chevy runs deep.
This is not a perfect advertisement. Girl dolls and girl children and girl adults can drive trucks too. Little boys don’t often play girl dolls, though; it’s strange on a lot of hands, but on another smaller one, I know I personally only had two boy dolls as a child, largely because I couldn’t really play boy dolls very well. (It’s also why I don’t write boys as much in stories. I just don’t feel like I can do it as well.) I will allow this little boy to want to play boy dolls, because he is playing boy dolls the best possible way.
Could the pinkish-haired girl doll have found her own truck to pull her pony trailer? Probably, but she may have had a truck and it then broke down through a freak accident of sometimes trucks do that. And sure, Lara Croft was waiting at home for (presumably) her husband, but she could have very well been off being Lara Croft and exploring and kicking ass and doing whatever Lara Croft does all day and just gotten home herself. Or maybe she was taking a day off. Or maybe or maybe or maybe.
The exciting thing about this ad is that the little boy was playing with pinkish-haired girl dolls and My Little Ponies and dollhouses and Lara Crofts at all. There was no sister character in the ad, sure he may have had one, but it wasn’t seen. This little boy was representing himself in the form of an action figure, or maybe representing his dad, because he is a little boy who presumably identifies in a boy-type way. But though he offered assistance to the girl and her pony, and greeted his (presumably) wife, he was chivalrous. Not in the tiresome, patronizing “well, hello, little lady, let me lift that heavy object for you” way, just in the “oh, hi, there, you need help, let me help.” It could have been a boy who needed his pony trailer towed somewhere, it wouldn’t have made a difference. He said “ma’am” because he had manners. And if the burly action figure represented him or his dad, and Lara Croft was the wife, then that means the little boy respects and admires and would like to marry a woman who can kick ass.
And, again, the little boy was playing with “boy” toys and “girl” toys both, without even making a thing of it. I was the kid who had a Hot Wheels track right next to my Barbie house; I had a Lego table right behind my American Girl and Magic Attic Club doll bed. I was a pretty “girly” kid, but I don’t remember anyone in my life ever telling me I shouldn’t play with toy cars or I should only have the pastel Legos, either. Gendered objects are strange to me, but so much of advertising and media in general is presented as boy or girl, not boy and girl. So this ad made me smile. Definitely a step in the right direction.
–your fangirl heroine.