I’m a 21st-Century urban lady, so obviously I have a Zipcar membership. Mostly, I use it when I get all the way to a bar and realize I left my ID at home, or when my roommate and I are going on epic furniture shopping sprees. I forget that I have it until the moment I really need it, and then it’s there, patiently waiting. As a card-carrying member of the Zipcar family, I get promotional emails every few days which I routinely archive and ignore. But not this one:
What a subject line! It’s not sexist, exactly, since there’s nothing in the headline or additional copy to suggest there’s anything extra-disrespectful about sleepovers for the ladies. It’s just…. old-fashioned, backwards, sex-negative, retro in a decidedly NOT cool kind of way.
Normally, Zipcar is pretty hip, with their discounted rentals on election day and their non-profit partnerships. I generally put Zipcar in the category of “knows what’s up,” which is why this subject line seemed especially antiquated and strange.
Duh, Zipcar, of course I respect myself in the morning. If I wasn’t going to respect myself in the morning, then I wouldn’t be having a weeknight sleepover… You think I wake up on Wednesdays full of shame and embarrassment? That sounds terrible, who wants that?
We’re a generation* (especially the ladies, since we’re making up for lost ground), that prides itself on trying to have sex exactly when we want to, with exactly whom we want to, and exactly how we want to. We’re not perfect, obviously, but we don’t devalue ourselves over choices that, in retrospect, seem unwise. We learn from them, we grow from them, but shame is not on the menu. For us, a weeknight sleepover is not a question of self-respect. In fact, we’ve worked really hard to tie our self-respect to facets of ourselves other than our sexual decision-making (like our intellect, compassion, and kindness, for example).
In the scheme of advertiser fuck-ups, this is pretty minor. But seriously, Zipcar, had you run this copy by some actual users, you might have realized that this message severely missed the mark.
*Not the whole generation, obviously, just the urban, highly-educated, sex-positive, 20-something segment of the generation. I recognize that’s probably not a huge piece of the Millennial pie, but it is a huge piece of the Zipcar market.
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