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For my Culture Jam project, I chose to jam an Evo advertisement that I often see when I’m riding the bus. The advertisement, pictured below, shows a man holding a mountain bike, skis, a snowboard, golf clubs and snowshoes. In the background is a single-family house, and in the foreground, an Evo. Superimposed above this image is large text reading “It’s a BC thing.” The ad goes on to promote Evo as “Car Share made for BC” and gives the promo code “BCTHING.”
What struck me when I looked at this advertisement was how, in four short words, all British Columbians had been homogenized into one image of a sporty man getting into a car. The problem that I chose to address was the lack of diversity and intersectionality in the ad. From the image, one can tell that the model is male-presenting, white, and able-bodied. It can also be assumed that he is middle or high class, as the sports equipment that he carries is for sports that require a large financial investment. For example, to participate in downhill skiing, one requires money for equipment, clothing, environment, often lessons, and hopefully health insurance. The presence of the skis is far more indicative of this man’s wealth than a soccer ball or basketball might be, as both of those sports require little equipment and can be played in free or low-cost spaces.
Being able to afford this car share service, participate in these sports, and live in a single family home is not simply a “BC thing.” In fact, the house alone indicates that this young man is out of the ordinary, particularly in Vancouver, where the majority of Evos are and where standalone houses are completely unaffordable for the vast majority of young people. As we have learned in the notes and readings in this class, everyone is affected by many intersecting social factors that enact simultaneously upon us, and these intersecting components privilege some while oppressing others. This single image of a man meant to represent all British Columbians only represents a very small percentage of the population, a percentage that, despite its size, is given disproportionately large media representation in advertisements like this one.
Within my jam, I chose to address the lack of representation, intersectionality, and overall homogenizing nature of this advertisement.
My final product, pictured below, ensures that this man is not portrayed as representing all of BC. Instead of reading “It’s a BC thing,” the ad now says “It’s a white able-bodied middle-class cis straight man thing.” Although this man’s gender identity and sexuality were not stated in the previous ad, I assumed that he is heterosexual and cisgender for the purposes of this assignment. By adding these social signifiers onto the image, I aimed to make clear that this man’s particular situation (that is, moving his expensive sport equipment from his standalone home into his car share) is not unrelated to his social status. I changed the lower text to read “Car share made for the privileged,” because judging by this advertisement, Evo is made for those with social power.
I also changed the “30 Free Minutes” icon to say “Lifetime Guarantee,” and the promo code to NOTALLMEN. I chose “Lifetime Guarantee” to indicate that, despite modern movements to uproot the patriarchy, there is no sign that our society will stop privileging white men. Men like the one featured in this ad are not necessarily guaranteed a perfect life, but they are guaranteed a life uninhibited by their particular social position. Finally, I chose the promo code “NOTALLMEN” to challenge the possible opposition this jam may ignite. When feminists try to hold men accountable for their actions, often they are met with defensive responses such as “Not all men do [a sexist thing many men do].” The hashtag #NotAllMen is used destructively on Twitter, it draws attention away from victims and usually misses the point of the social justice movement it attempts to oppose.
I don’t believe that Evo is actually car sharing for the privileged – it isn’t a perfect organization, but it is quite affordable and environmentally friendly. However, advertisements like this one paint a picture of Evo drivers that is not representative, alienating diverse people and homogenizing British Columbians into a harmful singular image.