Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Blog Against Sexism

I just found out that March 8th is Blog Against Sexism Day. Damn, I almost missed the memo! It's also International Women's Day. So there's a lot to celebrate, I guess.

This works out great though 'cause there is a series of commercials I keep seeing that are driving me berserk. They're the ads for Sunsilk hair products that use the tag line "Get Hair-apy!" The first ad that I just found annoying was the blond girl who "stuffs" her hair. Stupid and poorly written, but it's just a commercial.

Then they started in with these blonds vs. brunettes commercials.

Ah, yes. Nothing like a cat fight to sell your product, right? Not only are we supposed to be obsessed with our looks because, you know, that's all we as women have to offer, we're also evil catty little things. Ugh. At the website, you can join either the blond or brunette team by clicking on the icon that says "Grab your weapons, girls. The color showdown in ON!" Once you're there, you have to choose between the Blond or Brunette "VIP lounge". There are nifty little polls with questions like "How many dates have you gone on in the last month?" and "How many people have you hooked up with at one time?" I kid you not.

The really fun thing about this, is that Sunsilk is part of the Unilever Company. Unilever is the company that also owns and manages Dove. So, while they use happy-touchy-feely-everyone-is-beautiful marketing on one product, they turn around and use girls-are-shallow-and-will-claw-each-other's-eyes-out-over-hair-color humor on another. Just another reason I'm glad to be a red head, I guess. (sigh)

Madison Ave. has done a fantastic job over the years making women the prime consumers in our society. Even back in the "happy homemaker" 1950s we were the ones getting all the pitches for high end items like the fabulous new washer and dryer and the vacuum cleaner that will make house work a breeze! In the 70s and 80s it became more about their commercialized idea of empowerment. They took the reality of the women's movement and repackaged it into expensive skin creams and Virginia Slims cigarettes. Now, they've co-opted "Girl Power" and turned it into anything pink and sparkly with a bit of an edge to it. Is it any wonder more and more of us are opting into the DIY (Do It Yourself) movement? It may take a while to design and sew my own clothes or make my own soap, but at least I'm sidestepping these creeps who think blond jokes are a reasonable way to sell shampoo.

So, since it is International Women's Day and since I'm Blogging Against Sexism, I'm putting a call out to all my sisters. Let's turn off the damn TV when these stupid catty stereotypes come at us. Let's remember that we're all in this thing together. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the media bullshit, just remember that you can turn it off. You can go outside and enjoy a walk. You can read a book. You can volunteer as a mentor to a girl who doesn't have the life experience yet to sift through all this nonsense. You can simply choose not to buy the lie.

Or you could not buy the shampoo. Whatever.


Ms. S said...

I love your presentation. You present a good arguement. And as for the redhead thing, yep, that's my flavor this month. Love and miss you.

Thorny said...

Ugh. Those ads are awful. I hadn't seen them before (we don't so much have a "TV" as a screen for the DVD player - grin), how disappointing.

Frustrating as well, really. I bought some SunSilk for hubby to try and he really likes it. Either he needs to find something else that works, or I guess he needs to join the "Brunette Team." snort.

P.S. I read the Marianne Williamson quote you have on your blog every time I come here, and it's been making me think about many, many, MANY things. Like, "How bad will it annihilate my security deposit on this apartment if I paint that on the ceiling of my bedroom?" grin.

bazu said...

Thanks for your post. I do feel a little bit media-saturated at the moment... I lived for a long time without television, so now I really feel the ads and jingles enter and take up residence in my brain! Ack!

It's interesting you brought up Unilever and their, uh, mixed messages about female empowerment. I was wondering if you have read this article on Slate and what you think of itq?

runswithdog said...

Great, thought provoking writing, as usual, meesh. I am so NOT a Unilever fan lately. Marketing seems to be so omnipresent and I find myself victim to it without realizing.

KleoPatra said...

Another reason (i think i'm up to 1,613 now) why i don't watch, or miss, TV. That was quite a little video there. So sad. I'm certainly going to make sure i don't buy their products. I'm not sure if have any... but i'll be sure to look. I wish companies were all like Bronner's...

P.S. i LOVE this post. YOU ARE SO ON THIS, Meesh. Thank you for caring...

meesh said...

Hi everyone,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies. :) You guys rock!

I didn't have tv for a long time abotu a year ago. Like Thorny, my tv was used mostly for watching dvds. Even now, I don't see a lot of television programming because I'm usually at school or...well, asleep. :) When I do turn the thing on, I find it's either stupid, infuriating or just a big time waster. I just feel like advertising is so much a part of our daily lives anymore that we almost don't notice it. Even if you don't watch real tv there are innumerable radio and print ads that get to us all the time. It's so hard to cut through all the crap sometimes. (sigh)

Bazu, thanks for the link. Lot's to think about there...

Oh, and Thorny, I think you should totally paint whatever inspiring words you like on your ceiling! As long as you can paint it all back to that thrilling Navaho White that all apartment dwellers know and love. :)

runswithdog said...

did you run the other day? LOL