Friday, October 26, 2012
Unilever has your back ladies
I just read about these two videos in a book I just finished, "Feminism and Pop Culture" by Andi Zeisler. I guess they've been out a while (since 2007 or so?) but I had never seen them. I was aware of the Dove "Real Beauty" campaign, this is another opportunity to reflect on how I hate it when advertisers try to sell us back what was ours in the first place (our own bodies for example via this fucking stupid campaign).
I don't know, I guess this type of stuff is great for people who have never thought about it before, or people who are really vulnerable to images in ads or 'women's media'. That is not to say "all women", either. I'm very interested in style and beauty but also extremely critical and suspicious of any industry whose raison d'etre is to make me feel insecure, fat, old and ugly in order to separate me from my money.
But let's not forget this is not an act of empowerment or civic responsibility. It's not like fucking Unilever wants us all to reject advertising claims and embrace our naturalness. So I do actually get pissed off when something like this Dove campaign is meant to be brave or trailblazing or whatever. It's like, I guess by advertisers standards, the women of the Dove campaign were all fat hideous monsters, but the fact remains that by real life standards/cultural beauty norms they're all still fucking beautiful. And the public is supposed to get all excited because this company is brave enough to show us women that are STILL conforming more to cultural standards of beauty than most "real" women on the street; or that this ONE advertisement, or this ONE campaign is supposed to undo hundreds of years of straight up misogyny?
I mean, how naive/stupid do they think you are?
All that said, I liked the videos. Obviously I'm a mixed up hypocrite, and there are no surprises in the ads, but I guess it's good that people see this kind of stuff, regardless of who produces it.
I saw Jean Killbourne's "Killing Us Softly" at a time in my life when it made a big impression. The original one version came out in 1979 and it's been updated at least 4 times I think.
I still look at ads through a lens I first understood from that documentary which I probably saw around age 12 or so. To this day, I often look at ads on TV, the subway, and magazines and transpose the genders. It's always interesting and instructive, and usually depressing.
This is the idea. It's funny but also kind of not funny at all.