Tag Archives: ads

Awareness… Yeah, That’s the Ticket!

22 Jun

There is a new “cancer awareness” campaign targeting women’s pubic hair. Cancer of the pubes? Nope. Your cervix! You know, cuz lady bits are all just one big amalgamation to be pornified.

This is not, of course, the first time women’s body parts have been turned into objects under the guise of ‘awareness’. There has been the ubiquitous pink merchandise that declares “I ❤ boobies”, for example. (Fun side story. . . before I knew these bracelets and so forth were for “breast cancer awareness” I legitimately thought it was some overtly misogynistic crap designed to sexually harass women. Why? Because I only saw men with the bracelets and stickers, and particularly dudebro-y men at that.)

There’s campaigns to “save the boobies” and “save the ta-tas”, emphasizing the preservation of fatty masses over the life of an actual female human being.

There are “dance for the cure” parties for women. And the dancing? Around a pole, natch.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation had an ad showing a woman with a shirt that reads, “Punch it, strangle it, kick it, spit on it, choke it, and pummel it until its good and dead.” Hahaha! You thought we were talking about murdering a woman! Funny jokes!

There was Boobie-thon, which urges women to send in photos of their breasts, covered or uncovered.

I think you get the idea. This newest sexy-cancer campaign is supposedly mirrored after Movember in which males grow out mustaches or other facial hair to bring awareness to general “men’s health issues”, including male-specific cancers. Creating a similarly awkward portmanteau of ‘vagina’ and ‘July’, this newest cervical cancer awareness-raiser is called Julyna. (I’m strangely reminded of that episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry can’t remember the name of a woman and only knows that it rhymes with a female body part.)

And so, Julyna kicks off with not only a hilarious name, but an inaccurate one. Vaginas and cervixes: not the same thing, actually! The campaign further removes itself from the actual subject with its promotion of sculpting pubic hair, something the founders chose to create ‘media buzz’. It seems if you’re not showing pictures of breasts or shaving your pubes, no one much cares about ‘awareness’.

The parallels with Movember pretty much end with its involvement of hair in some way. Other than that, it is actually a reversal. Men keep their facial hair, women remove their pubes. As the last linked article says, the website for Julyna “has sample design ideas and suggestions on how to execute shapes with the least amount of discomfort.” There will be discomfort (ingrown hairs, itchies, etc) but just not as much as there could be. Got it.

Not only is the campaign Not Helpful in the way that it promotes sexualization of female bodies for some bullshit ‘awareness’, but the awareness it is raising is over something rather dubious. Cervical cancer is believed to be caused by HPV, a virus which is transmitted to the cervix almost solely through penis-in-vagina contact. While I don’t expect a soon-to-be-popular movement to include a critique of PIV, that should be a part of any campaign that is truly trying to reduce the cases of cervical cancer.

As with any mainstream awareness movement dealing with cervical cancer, Julyna hypes the importance of very frequent Pap tests. As I have written about before, cervical cancer screening (particularly in the U.S.) is used far too often, is unreliable, and is part of a broader system of medical surveillance of female bodies as a means of control. The constant urging of women to ‘test early and test often’ serves to make women afraid of their own bodies and shame women as irrational and immature for deciding against the test. With the sexy-cancer angle, the concurrent pressure to get Pap tests is similarly unacceptable and harmful to women.

Now, in an attempt to balance the scales, I have a proposal. I ask everyone to join me in supporting my new personal cancer awareness-raising cause: testicular cancer. To increase knowledge about it, I ask that all men bleach their assholes. It’ll be a great attention-getter!

(Thanks to Jilla for bringing this campaign to my attention.)

 

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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.

Militarized Health Ads

13 Mar

Here are television ads for two products which appeared over the last couple years. I haven’t seen any other blog link these two ads, so here they are.

All of the ads feature a woman as consumer/patient/war-zone, with the product portrayed as a military force coming to “solve” the “problem” the woman has. I could get into the various layers of media analysis here, but this isn’t 101 and this isn’t Sociological Images. I just wanted to share these since they all have such a bizarre confluence of military overtones while also treating female bodies as deficient. What a twofer!

[Note: overt phallic imagery, anyone?]

Omnaris nasal spray (1)

Omnaris nasal spray (2)

[Note: The next ads might be a bit triggery regarding disordered eating.]

Ensure “nutrition” drink (1)

Ensure “nutrition” drink (2)

Does My Ass Look Good in These Shoes?

23 Dec

The current trend of shoes that “shape up” your legs and butt has resulted in a number of awful ads recently. This is the newest addition.

Transcript

Brooke Burke: This year for the holidays, I’m giving my mom better legs. I’m giving my brother a tighter core. My cousin. . . better posture. And my sister, a cuter butt. And now, my man. . . this year, he’s getting a sexier me. I’m getting everybody Sketcher’s Shape-ups. Why? Because they really work. Step into your new body, with Sketcher’s Shape-ups.

The most disturbing part is what she gives “her man”. His gift is her body.

Your relationship: now with prostitution!