I need to offer a white apology, or actually, a male one. I'll do my best not to offer instead mere apologetics.
Thanks to some patient swpd commenters, I now see that yesterday's post, in which I examined the whiteness of Super Bowl commercials, trivialized our patriarchal culture's sexist depictions of women as objectified targets for male conquest. I took some liberal observers of the "Guyland" depicted in these ads to task for overlooking the whiteness of the sexism they were decrying. However, as several readers took the time to point out in that post's comments, I ended up doing something like the reverse -- I lost sight of the real problem with these ads, by downplaying their rampant and ultimately dangerous sexism. My apologies to those who were offended and insulted by that post.
In the course of trying to focus on the unmarked, "hegemonic" whiteness of sexist Super Bowl ads, I failed to keep an eye on both forms of power at work -- both racism and sexism; both whiteness and masculinity. I especially erred by implying, despite several disclaimers in the post to the contrary, that women of color should be upset that they rarely appear in sexist beer ads, and also by tying that to self-esteem issues struggled with by black women.
fromthetropics offered the most clarifying correction in this comment:
This is an example where the intersection of race and gender is more complicated than it appears.
What we have here is male desire for women. This is obvious. Specifically, white male desire for white women. This is also obvious. But it is not merely a desire, it is a desire to (sexually) conquer and subjugate (white) women (in order to appear masculine). Still obvious.
What is less obvious is that it invites all men to express their masculinity by conquering, so to speak, white women. Conquering WOC is easy. But to conquer white women? – now that’s the pinnacle of masculinity for all men in a white dominated society. The emphasis is on masculinity and men. It is not about women striving to be on top of the food chain, hence it is not about whether or not WOC feel as though their beauty is being (de)valued. It is about the male struggle to be at the top of the food chain, and whether or not their masculinity is being (de)valued.
Hence, all women lose out in such portrayals of ‘beauty’ (read: sexual objectification). So, to emphasize that these ads are dismissive of non-white female beauty, I think, misses the point by far. The emphasis, I repeat, should be on the racism inherent in what is defined as masculine, and not feminine. Otherwise, you’re playing racism against sexism, and we all lose out.
I see now that I should have emphasized objectifying, conquering white masculinity in these ads, instead of pervasive white, and excluded non-white, femininity. The objectification promulgated in "Guyland" trivializes all women, and it helps to endanger them as well, by encouraging men to think of them as sexual targets and conquests. Ironically, my post seems to have done the same, by implying, despite its disclaimers to the contrary, that all women, whether they're white or not, should envy the women depicted in Super Bowl ads, for being thought of as "hot." I didn't set out believing that, but I can see now how I ended up implying it, and how I overlooked as well the more deserving target of critique.
As Rosa wrote in a comment to that post,
By trying to separate sexism from racism here, you're doing neither justice. Trying to take them both on in the way you've done, juxtaposing self-esteem issues of black girls growing up in a racist society with the racism and sexism inherent in Superbowl advertisements, is just wrong-headed.
My thanks again to those who took the time to point out what I was overlooking and what I was egregiously implying, especially fromthetropics, Rosa, and honeybrown1976.