“Who’s that guy?” “Oh it’s my non-hot agent Rich.”

6 Jun

Ah so the other day I was wondering if I, as a white person, found black men attractive. While my thoughts started drifting to Taye Diggs…

The following commercial came on and I remembered that I only find white men attractive and that black men are just here to file my insurance claims and stand in the background.

All snark aside, I didn’t understand why the agent wasn’t a sex object.

He’s a tall, skinny black guy in a suit so there’s nothing immediately unappealing about him by American “traditional” standards. For example, if he had been what this society considers “fat” I could say “okay, fatness is coded as unattractive” and that would be just as sad but would mean that it wasn’t his skin tone that wasn’t hitting the ladies’ buttons.

Likewise, if he had been dressed in say, Bermuda shorts and/or some quirky outfit I could reason that the women found him unattractive for his less-than-sophisticated attire. State Farm Agent Rich’s age, clothing and physique all seem to be prime for finding him attractive.

But instead, when the friend on the left says “with a hot guy”, a “hot” white man magically appears and poor Rich is left in the background.

I don’t believe State Farm is in the business of telling white people who to date or that they’re intentionally being racist or anything. More, I believe the commercial unintentionally reflects conceptions of “hotness” from the dominant white female perspective.

The commercial operates on the assumed notion that when a white woman says “a hot guy” it means a white hot guy.

Additionally, the commercial also reflects what values women are taught to desire in men and what those virtues look like when visualized (hence, the hot white guy holding the bunny when the one girl asks for someone “sensitive” ).

The women themselves embody stereotypes about what a “sensitive”, or “dangerous” woman look like. The “sensitive” woman wears a layered boho dress with a loose hat, while the “danger”-desiring woman is a brunette (I think dangerous women are often brunettes in movies) with more “urban-chic” fashion.

Regardless of my analysis, I laugh when the “sensitive” version of the hot white guy is holding the bunny and says “He’s a rescue”. It’s a detail that humorously attempts to target the “sensitive” (“sensitive” means animal rights in this case) audience.


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2 Responses to ““Who’s that guy?” “Oh it’s my non-hot agent Rich.””

  1. Mouse June 7, 2010 at 2:04 am #

    You’re cool Kirsten!

    • d'Afrique July 7, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

      As a black female, I definitely think this state farm ad is blatantly racist. My two cents.

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