Wendy McClure, so lately ballyhooed by this very blog, has written an op-ed piece in the Chicago Sun-Times
(home of Uber-Jackasses Lucio Guerrero and Richard Roeper) on jackassy responses to the Dove campaign. Excerpt:
". . .These remarks aren't about being politically contrary; they're about something else. They expose the nasty inverse of 'the beauty standard,' which is the belief, held by some men, that women who don't look like fantasy material aren't just unworthy of their attention but are actually offensive, or even menacing. It's worth noting that none of the complainers goes so far as to call the Dove models ugly, yet they consider these women visual nuisances, annoying as litter, sour eye candy, gross.
It's a dirty little notion, and rarely is it ever this publicly expressed. The sheer entitlement behind it is usually a silent presence, perhaps even an unconscious one."
Meanwhile, good ol' Twisty Faster, spinster aunt and genius, points out (in two posts
) another aspect of these ads: the women portrayed here are still "conventionally pretty," express some truly gag-worthy, uber-chipper sentiments ("I feel beautiful whenever I keep a positive attitude!"), and are, indeed, hawking a firming cream that "will give you the only thing that patriarchy actually values in a woman: a tight ass."
She concludes that "hot young babes in underwear selling beauty products is not radical," and you know, I think she really ought
to be right. But the Neanderthal reactions being shamelessly spewed across the pages of mainstream papers like the Sun-Times make me think that, in this fallen world we actually
inhabit, even ads as innocuous as these still fail to be patriarchy pleasers. Because, after all, they do indeed confront certain shocked and awed male viewers, perhaps for the first time in their lives, with the idea that maybe--just maybe--not all advertising has
to be about catering to their pre-programmed fantasy lives, regardless of what it's selling and to whom it's selling it. And that, sadly enough, is probably a pretty radical notion to most of these jerks.
Even more depressing--and even more indicative of how programmed we all
are by Madison Avenue's relentless Kate Mossing of ads for everything from sports equipment to Summer's Eve--are the negative reactions women
are having to the ads. See Curiousgirl's comments on Twisty's second post:
"Many normal size women I know are offended because women with bodies like that should not be seen in public in their underwear. They'll say 'I mean, I know I'd look like that too. But if that was my body, I wouldn't wear a bikini to the beach, right?'"
[Note: the transmission of this post was interrupted by the author's inarticulate howls of rage and frustration. Especially because she, herself, will not wear a bikini (or, indeed, even a one-piece) to the beach.]