A while back the Freedom Defense Initiative started taking out Islamophobic ads on buses around San Francisco (the original ads are not pictured; they are offensive enough I didn’t think it was worth it). Turns out, a vigilante (presumably, without super powers) has found a way to improve them — the ads are being defaced with new wording, and images of Kamala Khan, who is both the latest woman in the Marvel universe to take on the title of Ms. Marvel and Marvel’s first Muslim headlining character. Via Toybox at io9.
A new campaign in Switzerland is doing a great job of promoting safer sex without pathologizing sex or moralizing about it, and with an array of wonderfully inclusive (and erotic!) messages and images. What’s more, to get to the campaign’s website, viewers need to sign on to a manifesto to love life, love their bodies and have no regrets. So far, over 54,000 people have signed on. Check it out here.
What’s missing from this puzzle? February 14, 2014
From boingboing, here‘s an example of how not to promote disciplinary diversity. And, if you scroll to the bottom, also a handy example from Elsevier’s Tom Reller of how not to respond to legitimate concerns about gender exclusive advertizing.
More gendered products January 26, 2014
21 of them, over at Buzzfeed. The captions are pretty funny. Here’s one:
I was ankle-deep in my boyfriend’s mucus before we bought these man-sized Kleenex. Ordinary tissues just couldn’t contain his oversized, masculine boogers.
Fight Sexist Stereotypes With Shampoo December 11, 2013
This ad actually does a pretty nice job of summing up in a minute the power and persuasion of some of the current sexist stereotypes floating around our culture.
However, in an expected non-twist (it being a commercial), the video ends with the advice that, in order to avoid these double standards, one should just buy the right shampoo.
I find it extra amusing (and bemusing) that the ad can’t even demonstrate the efficacy of its own advice. The woman at the very end supposedly has beaten the “show off” stereotype with her shiny hair, but…there’s nothing in the ad showing that to be the case. The word “show off” has miraculously melted from the sidewalk beneath her feet, but the suggestion is still in our heads. I found myself still easily fitting the woman under the heading of “show off.” The ad created no cognitive dissonance that might allow one to undermine the force of these stereotypes.
So really, this commercial is a great showcase for why individual willpower/gusto/innovation sometimes just can’t beat a cultural stereotype. It doesn’t matter how great your hair looks. In fact, the better it looks, the more of a show-off you may seem.
I find it fascinating when people can so brilliantly articulate one piece of a puzzle and then immediately fail so hard at framing the adjacent pieces.
(See also: anyone who has moved you to tears with their articulation of one form of oppression to only turn around and spout tone-deaf nonsense about the others.)
Women in Media in 2013 December 5, 2013
Some progress, but a lot of room for positive change.
Is it less objectifying if you smile? September 30, 2013
The OMA rejected one version of two almost identical ads for the skincare brand [Ella Bache] because the models, who were using their hands to cover their naked bodies, had serious facial expressions that were interpreted as “too sexualised”. A version where the three models were smiling was accepted . . . The chief executive of the OMA, Charmaine Moldrich, defended the decision and told Fairfax, “I know its nuanced and subtle but there is a difference between a woman who is empowered, and happy to be here and a woman who is being objectified. It’s our job to make that make that call.”
Whatever you think about the mitigating power of smiling and objectification, it’s disturbing that an unsmiling facial expression is considered more sexually “arousing” than the facial expression of a woman who looks happy. Read more (and see the images) here.
Berlin Leftists’ New Target: Barbie Dreamhouse May 17, 2013
Berlin Leftists’ New Target: Barbie Dreamhouse (WSJ article by Mary M. Lane, 5/17/13)
“Workers of the World Unite to Fight ‘Pinkified’ Resident, Stiletto Chairs”
…”It would be a huge danger for capitalism if working men and women were united, so one of the best ways to divide and conquer the workers is by enabling men to over-sexualize women and by preoccupying women with sexualizing themselves,” said group leader Michael Koschitzki, 27 years old. “This is why we need to oppose Barbie.”…
“Barbie has been around for over 50 years. Can you show me that’s really held back society with all the positive changes for women?” asked Jörg Niepraschk, a father of two girls he brought to the Dreamhouse for a preview on Tuesday.
“The Junge Linke adamantly say “yes,” arguing that Barbie is a symbol of proletariat repression and a consumerist society set in place by power-hungry capitalists…
“The Junge Linke argue that Barbie’s “pinkified” personality cultivates a desire in girls to focus on looks instead of careers and spend their cash on expensive beauty products…
One of many wonderful papers that quickly come to mind is Sandra Bartky’s “Foucault, Femininity, and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power”. (Click here for a PDF copy posted on the web for now.)
What’s not so great about that Dove video April 18, 2013
When it comes to the diversity of the main participants: all four are Caucasian, three are blonde with blue eyes, all are thin, and all are young (the oldest appears to be 40). The majority of the non-featured participants are thin, young white women as well. Hmm… probably a little limiting, wouldn’t you say? We see in the video that at least three black women were in fact drawn for the project. Two are briefly shown describing themselves in a negative light (one says she has a fat, round face, and one says she’s getting freckles as she ages). Both women are lighter skinned. A black man is shown as one of the people describing someone else, and he comments that she has “pretty blue eyes”. One Asian woman is briefly shown looking at the completed drawings of herself and you see the back of a black woman’s head; neither are shown speaking. Out of 6:36 minutes of footage, people of color are onscreen for less than 10 seconds.
Then there’s this…
At the end of the experiment, one of the featured participants shares what I find to be the most disturbing quote in the video and what Dove seems to think is the moral of the story as she reflects upon what she’s learned, and how problematic it is that she hasn’t been acknowledging her physical beauty: It’s troubling,” she says as uplifting music swells in the background. “I should be more grateful of my natural beauty. It impacts the choices and the friends we make, the jobs we go out for, they way we treat our children, it impacts everything. It couldn’t be more critical to your happiness.”
Read all about it here.