Home, Safe Home on the Main Line

Women are not as stupid and helpless as the alarm companies think we are

I know I watch too much television, but has anyone happened to take note of the really annoying commercials for alarm companies that have been airing for ages? Usually these things are just white noise to me, but recently I found myself stopping in disbelief at the way women are being portrayed in these ads. As I look around my own street in what could possibly be the most alarmed-up area in the region, I still have to doubt the efficacy of these alarm ads.

The ones that really caught my attention are from a company whose ads feature hysterical women who are immediately calmed like Pavlovian dogs by the mere mention of an armed alarm system. One silly woman, who dares to worry about her own well-being, wakes bolt upright in a panic that she heard a noise only to be told by the near-catatonic man beside her in bed not to worry, they now have an alarm. She immediately drops back on the pillow like a ton of bricks, because there’s no way someone could break in another way or be stealing the car in the driveway. No, anything this guy tells her is peace of mind enough for her. Forget the fact that many alarm systems only arm the doors and not the windows, or that someone could actually cut the alarm feed. That’s not the reality the advertiser wants you to consider. They really just want to show how easily you can calm stupid women down.[SIGNUP]

Another clip from the same ad shows a woman screaming hysterically into the telephone because her husband has to work late, because that’s what we all do, right? We don’t understand that our “firefighter” husband has to go fight a fire and save lives. Nope. We scream and yell into the phone because (allow me a moment while I laugh or throw up) we are AFRAID to be alone in our own homes! Seriously. What year is this? Who do these companies think they’re marketing to? The male head of the household? The marketing genius behind this probably wrote ads for cigarettes endorsed by physicians. The next moment they replay the same scenario where she’s absolutely fine to stay home because of their new alarm system and, surprisingly, she now sounds just like a phone sex operator instead of a shrill fishwife. Gotta love those stereotypes.

Another competing alarm company isn’t quite as overtly offensive, but they still show the vulnerable young woman or mother with child suffering a home invasion, where they invariably run UPSTAIRS, not out of the house, like a bad horror movie. I’m surprised they don’t trip and fall. Note that it’s never men running on their treadmills or making their child lunch when the home is invaded, by the way. In alarm company ad world, men would probably never make their children lunch. They’re too busy fighting fires and calming their pathetic victim wives.

Do these companies know that most modern couples make home improvement decisions together? In our house I’m the one who wants to upgrade the alarm system to include the interior or exterior lighting, so we can have preset levels, remote usage and a panic setting that turns on all the lights to full brightness. Hell, I’d like to throw in a built-in sound system as well and have it all on one of those smart keypads. But that’s all a few years away at least. And when we do it, we sure as hell won’t be using those sexist alarm companies. Until then, thank goodness I have my levelheaded husband to remind me we have an alarm in the middle of the night in case I hear someone loading our TVs into a van.