Misogynist Billboard Shocks Public

Image via Edmonton Sun.
Image via Edmonton Sun.

Since the death of the Keystone XL pipeline, Alberta’s oilsands have been in trouble. And that trouble is only getting worse with recent controversy over a billboard advertisement in northern Alberta, Canada.

This billboard advertisement may take you a while to figure out, because the graphics are terrible. Also it’s unclear what product or service they offer, or who they are advertising to.

This is what my husband said when I showed it to him.

“What am I looking at?¬†Is it like an auger or something?”

We both stared at it for another few minutes, and then we saw it. There is a picture of a woman on fire laying down in the background. The text reads, “We Drill them to Hell and Back.” The drill is going into her crotch. And the woman looks unconscious.

What is a naked, unconscious, on-fire woman doing in an advertisement for heavy machinery? This is a problem.

Somehow, the misogynist implication of this billboard advertisement is lost on the company, or so they say. They offered this as a response:

“When we say we screw them to hell and back, that’s just an example we’re using. It has absolutely nothing to do with violence against women, misogynistic stuff. It has nothing to do with that. I have as much respect for women as they have for me.”

The company’s owners explain that the woman is a demon woman from hell, for some reason. Also, they forgot that they “drill” them to hell and back, not “screw.” Oopsie.

I get that the words “drill” and “screw” are hilarious, and are tempting to use in a juvenile pun in advertising, but really. Could we not?

The company is called BeDevil– get it? Devil–demon lady–hell and back. It vaguely makes a teensy bit of sense, although it has nothing to do with screwpiles, which is apparently what they were advertising. It’s problematic that companies just throw a naked reclined woman into their billboard advertising for no reason– it’s not an uncommon advertising tactic, either. It just desensitizes us further to the notion of women as objects, and that it’s okay to “drill them to hell and back” without their consent.