Corporations: Helping You Hate Every Last Body Part

18 Apr

Do you think your armpits are disgusting? If you didn’t before, you’ll have Dove to thank for your new-found underarm-specific body hatred!

As usual with such ads, Sociological Images has a write-up on the new campaign.

On Yahoo Shine (the division of Yahoo that’s for the chicks), this little article had some pretty sad comments. What’s notable in many of the comments is evidence of a total shift in what ‘normal’ should mean. Even while expressing disinterest in the idea of ‘unattractive pits’ that can supposedly be solved by this deodorant, what they’re saying still upholds an idea of what an ‘attractive’ armpit looks like. Some examples:

Going on the record here as saying I could care less about my pits. As long as they are shaved and don’t stink, then I’m good.

[. . .] I never really think about them. They stay shaved and deodorized and that’s what matters.

I shave my underarms regularly, wash them, and use deodorant. Despite that, and being 44 years old, I have never, not once, wondered, “how do my pits LOOK?”

Sure I have worried once in a while that my armpits weren’t as cleanly shaven as I’d like…but hate them?? Meh, who cares?!

I totally don’t care about my armpits! I just spend a bunch of money on shaving supplies and deodorizing products every year because I just don’t care!

Although they recognize a corporate overstep, these commenters still have a clear idea of what appropriate female armpits are to look and smell like. Shaving regularly and using all manners of chemical cocktails to ‘freshen up’ one’s pits is absolutely the norm in the U.S., as seen in these discussions.

In reality, your hairy pits are actually just fine and your body odor probably isn’t a public health hazard. Look at all these women who are doin’ just fine with their lovely non-shaved pits! And that is what the body’s norm looks like.

4 Responses to “Corporations: Helping You Hate Every Last Body Part”

  1. FAB Libber April 20, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    Somehow I missed this post!

    Well, the photo of the woman in the article, she looks plastic to me. It’s the plastic doll look isn’t it?

    The marketing campaign that I saw on TV for the Dove ad with moisturiser basically indicated that it repaired the damage that happens due to shaving. So no shaving, then you just don’t need this expensive shit.

  2. GallusMag April 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Armpit beauty- the answer to a question nobody asked.
    Seriously I read that they polled women about the attractiveness of their body parts and 98% said their pits were unattractive so they designed a product to “fix” it. No wonder they’re problematic if they have all that razor burn.
    I’ve never shaved but I’ve heard women who used to, and then stopped, say they have less B.O. now because the hair wicks away the sweat and keeps it from festering against the skin.

    • lishra April 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

      Yeah, that poll. Of course, the question implies that they *should* feel that their armpits are unattractive anyway, otherwise why are they asking?

      I finally quit shaving my pits and my legs at the end of summer last year. Best body-related decision I’ve made in a long time! I feel more like a mammal than I ever have before : ) It’s awesome.

    • FAB Libber April 22, 2011 at 4:12 am #

      the answer to a question nobody asked

      Yes indeed.
      A lot of corporate ‘market expansion’ is based on that – come up with a product, then convince everyone it fixes a problem they did not have.

      A confession that I used to be a pit-shaver (and leg-shaver) up until my early 30s. I was certainly deluded into the cult mindset of hairlessness-for-females. Now that I have been deprogrammed of the cult mindset, armpits just look totally wrong when shaven.

      Pit-shaving only started around the beginning of the 20thC, I think it was Gillette (or similar) that discovered they could double their market size by inventing ‘a problem’ for women… the rest is history.

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