Feministe's "Shameless Self-Promotion Sunday" gives me the chance to ask a question that's been nagging me for awhile:
What's the feminist take on Erin Esurance? For those of you who don't watch TV (ever--she is on like all the time), Erin is the animated spokeswoman for Esurance, an online car insurance company. She appears in a variety of flash animated advertisements, pitching the company's "quote, buy, print" motto in secret-agent type settings. The ads are produced in-house, not by Madison Avenue, so that could explain why they aren't at least flagrantly sexist (in my opinion).
The ads have a male character in them (and various robot baddies), but he is definitely second-fiddle. Erin, for her part, is not cast in stereotypically feminine roles--she races cars, jumps out of buildings, and beats up on robot evildoers. Basically, she spends most of the ads kicking ass. Which is good.
On the other hand, she certainly is drawn in the stereotypical slender, White, pretty mold that virtually all female actresses on commercials have (even animated ones, apparently, though I doubt her figure is humanly possible even among the model-set). When I ran a google blogsearch to try and answer this question on my own, all I got was a bunch of male bloggers repeating how hot she was. Which might be an answer itself, but I suspect it merely proves that any normatively attractive woman in a public arena will find herself objectified. That's certainly not her fault (though Esurance is arguably exploiting that fact--they, of course, control the proportions of their animated characters).
So? What's the line?