The Mac is one sort of instantly recognisable, vaguely urban, effortlessly cool white American guy, the PC is another, deeply unattractive, old economy nerd sort of (much whiter) American guy. Yes, because they’re stock characters, they’re ‘stereotypes’, and so is the supermodel in the ‘better’ results’ ad.
My issue was more basic than that, but also more problematic, if that makes sense. It’s simply that at this level of communication, when a human body is made to represent a global brand community via the process of standing in for the whole computer system associated with that brand (including its design and its ‘thingness’, its GUI, its applications, its users and its cultural meanings), that body has to be white and male.
If you were in any doubt that men are the default and women the aberration (or, on occasion, the creation or possession of men as in this ad), you might want to note how menâ€™s naked bodies are â€œhuman anatomyâ€ while womenâ€™s naked bodies are â€œfemale anatomyâ€
But in the specific context of the ‘get a mac ads’ it’s not just ‘by default’, it’s not really possible any other way, except in first year communication studies ‘commutation test‘ posters. That’s the first thing. The second thing is what kind of female and ‘non-white’ bodies can appear at all, and what kinds of technologies they get to be* when they do appear.
It’s all so obvious and completely expected and even making comments about it makes me feel like I’m writing a first-year communication studies essay, but that’s why I wondered if, instead of being just crap, it’s ‘really’ super-clever and an invitation to parody? Otherwise I’m just depressed.
*In fact the supermodel only gets to be ‘content‘ anyway, whereas at least the cute young Japanese woman got to be a fun little digital camera. We could say the counselor (sic) is a particular construction of ‘mediation’ where communication is disarticulated from ‘technology’ altogether, but that’s going way too far, even for an eager undergraduate essay.
See also how to dress like a mac.