The ad begins with a fairly muscular, athletic-looking Asian guy looking to purchase a Gatorade drink from the vending machine.
A janitor sweeping nearby gives some words of advice to the Asian guy “You can’t get the reward without the work.”
This message is reinforced by the slogan on the vending machine itself “YOU DON’T SWEAT IT YOU DON’T GET IT.” As the two are talking, J.J. Watt strolls up, staring down the Asian guy the whole time, intimidating him.
He continues to stare him down while effortlessly knocking the vending machine down with one arm, demonstrating his superhuman strength and in the process making the Asian guy seem like he isn’t strong enough and therefore not man enough.
Click below to see an animated gif of the interaction:
He then strolls back where he came from, still staring down the Asian guy menacingly.
The ending of the commercial shows J.J. Watt approaching the Asian guy after he has knocked down the vending machine, the Asian guy seemingly still intimidated. Watt proclaims ?Muscle shirts??” while looking the guy up and down “…(are) for muscles.” Then he flexes both his guns to show that he’s got the muscles and is suited to wear muscle shirts, while implying the Asian guy doesn’t have the goods to be wearing muscle shirts.
This video is like a microcosm of society at large. Though the Asian-American man has made strides for himself in American society, he is still not on the level of the white man and is looked down upon. You can clearly see this represented with J.J. Watt, the supreme alpha white male, all 6’5″ 289 pounds of him, as he intimidates the Asian guy and displays his dominance and superiority through brute strength and size. Even though the Asian man is somewhat muscular and in shape, he is still ‘less of a man’ when compared to the massive J.J. Watt.
It’s a well-known theme in American media to show the Asian man as weak and effeminate, and this is just another negative media portrayal of Asian men in the same vein. For the uninitiated, the commercial on the surface seems innocent, and even progressive for Asians as a non-stereotypical, athletic-looking Asian male is cast in the ad, but it subliminally drives home the idea that Asian men are inferior to the White man, no matter how buff and strong he gets.
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CATEGORY OF OFFENSE: Denigration ( Asians are Weak)
MEDIA TYPE: TV Commercial
OFFENSE DATE: August 18, 2015