I once saw a bumper sticker that said, “Fascism comes in many forms.” Well, so does terrorism. Merriam-Webster actually defines “terrorism” as, “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.” With that in mind, let us watch:
Brinks Home Security actually has an entire page on YouTube dedicated to these commercials (My personal favorites are “First Date” and “The House Party”) . All of them feature male intruders. All of them feature female victims. And all of them feature male saviors in the form of Brinks employees.
The consistent male intruder –> female victim –> male savior scenario tells us that not only are women subject to violence from men, they are also dependent upon them for their safety. This creates an especially terrifying picture: the very people I am supposed to trust are also the ones that will hurt me! And in my own home! Without consciously or explicitly thinking this, a female viewer will probably still feel the effects.
Brinks hopes that the terror its ads inspire in female viewers will cause them to purchase a home security system, and indeed, many of them may do so. However, the ads may effect a woman’s thinking in more ways than that. It may cause her to feel uncomfortable being alone in her apartment or house. It may cause her to be more distrustful of men, but at the same time, it may cause her to feel more dependent upon men. She may only feel safe at home if a man is there with her. And yet, she may not feel safe on a first date unless a girlfriend is there, too.
Of course, one viewing of a commercial like this will probably not cause a tremendous shift in thinking all at once. But, it’s naive to think that our ideas, opinions, and beliefs are completely uninfluenced by such subtle (or not so subtle) messages.