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Tag Archives | advertising

because we all know that girls can’t do math, right?

Here we go again:

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This t-shirt is for sale just in time for “back to school.”  Isn’t that just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? A girl’s t-shirt that tells her (and us) that she can’t do math but it’s not a big deal.

It’s funny, you know? I looked on the website for The Children’s Place and didn’t see a corresponding boys’ t-shirt that says his best subjects are…football, TV, and accidentally breaking things.  What would the unchecked box be….reading? writing? empathy?

A few weeks ago, I was in a children’s store–Gap, maybe, or Old Navy, something like that–and the boys noticed that the store was divided into the pink section and the non-pink section (Okay, they’re a little slow. Give ’em a break, they’re boys.)  When I said that the store marketers figured that it would sell more merchandise or something, Liam (who is 12), had a very succinct response:

“That’s stupid.”

We’ve weathered the ridiculous JC Penney shirts, the disgusting Victoria’s Secret underpants…and corporate America keeps right on swinging back, hell-bent, it seems, on sending the message that girls are…less than boys.  And, as Liam would say, “it’s stupid.”

You want a funny shirt? Try this:

HN3281

source

Now that is a shirt any kid could wear, just in time for back to school. Funny–and grammatically correct.

Continue Reading · on August 6, 2013 in Children, Feminism, Gender, kids, Parenting, Politics, shopping

underpants for the underage

I will not be the only blogger who writes about this latest “ooh aren’t we edgy” marketing campaign; there are bloggers with far bigger platforms than mine who will draw attention to the latest entry in the “How Low Will Corporations Go” sweepstakes.  You thought perhaps the JC Penney “I’m too pretty to do my homework so my brother does it for me” shirt was lame, right?

Is your daughter too pretty to do her homework?

And I imagine you weren’t real happy about the fact that Abercrombie & Fitch had a campaign to sell padded swim-suit tops…to 8 year olds. Because really, let’s start training these girls early that it’s all about the boobs, girls, all about the boobs–and thus every swimsuit should, without a doubt, resemble a personal flotation device. (You’ll be happy to know that the company altered the description of the swimsuit top from “padded” to “lightly lined.” Which totally makes it okay.)

But now? Now we may have a winner in the Tastelessness Sweepstakes. I present to you the latest line of underwear being marketed by that bastion of tastelessness, Victoria’s Secret:

It’s a whole new line of undies that seem designed not so much in the “delicate unmentionable” category as they are in the what-the-fuck-were-you-thinking category.  Here’s another beauty:

Victoria's Secret: Pull "Bright Young Things" From Shelves

Couldn’t a gal just, you know, text some guy her number instead of dropping trou to present her request?

The undies are part of the new “Bright Young Things” line being launched as part of the VS PINK line; the ad campaign features scantily clad girls women frolicking in what are being billed as “Spring Break Must-Haves,” which is why I guess the collection also includes some fabulous beach towels, like this one:

At the risk of sounding like a crotchety old lady muttering into her hearing aid, I’d like to suggest that from meet to kiss there should be more than one step. It seems appropriate that a beach towel carries this message, which is about being utterly and completely passive: just recline and let things be done to you: be called, be met, be kissed, be pinked. It’s like the girl is some kind of puppy waiting to be adopted from the pound: like me like me like me, all tail-waggy and dewy-eyed. And let’s not even contemplate what “pink me”  means, shall we?

Oh I know, there we go again, we shrill humorless feminists, we mothers whose memories of youth vanished when we zipped up that first pair of comfy mom jeans. I mean, it’s just a towel, for god’s sake, it’s just a pair of underpants.  Reeeelaaaaaxxxx, right?

Or as this oh-so-clever article from E! Online (ever a reputable news source) says, “don’t get your panties in a twist.”  And here’s why we should all just chillax, according to the article:

Victoria’s Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women,” the company said in a statement to E! News. “Despite recent rumors, we have no plans  to introduce a collection for younger women. Bright Young Things was a slogan used in conjunction with the college spring break tradition.”

So, in other words, they’re not trying to make teens too sexy before their time.

The misunderstanding originated when the company’s chief financial officer, Stuart Burgdoerfer, said at a conference, “When somebody’s 15 or 16 years old, what do they want to be? They want to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college, and that’s part of the magic of what we do at Pink.”

The Bright Young Things just got caught up in the fray.

So no worries on the underpants front, folks, those sexy-pants messages are safe from your high school daughters.  Victoria’s Secret isn’t trying to turn 15 year old girls into sexy college students, absolutely not. I’m sure that store clerks will be carding their customers to ensure that no prepubescent lassie will be buying underwear that says “I Dare You.”

But hey, as “part of the magic,” I think that PINK should by all means encourage college girls women to emblazon sexual challenges on their scanties, and to splay themselves on beach towels that encourage objectification, passivity, and … pink-ing, whatever the hell that is.

Okay, sure, it’s just a stupid marketing gimmick and it’s just an overpriced pair of underpants that maybe don’t mean much. But the body that will wear those underpants? That body has meaning; that body has value.

Or at least, it should have value.  Unfortunately, the folks at Victoria’s Secret seem to have missed that point.

***

A petition to pull these pants off the shelves (as it were) is circulating the web; you can find the petition here.

Continue Reading · on March 26, 2013 in Feminism, Gender, growing up, Kids, Parenting, Politics, Products, ranting, sex, shopping, Uncategorized

beyond the bricks to the beauty shop: lego goes girlie

A friend circulated this ad on facebook. Maybe you saw it as it made the rounds?

The ad is from 1981, not a year particularly celebrated for female achievement (although it was the year Britney Spears was born, so I suppose that counts for something).

I love legos and this ad only stoked my lego-love. My kids are lego freaks and over the years, my only consolation for finding those sharp-edged pieces in the couch, on the floor, embedded in rugs–on pretty much any flat surface–has been to feel all smug that my kids play with such a gender-neutral toy, a toy that is endlessly creative, blah blah blah.

Then I saw this ad on the lego page site:

If Polly Pocket mated with a Star Wars mini-fig, or if hookers gave away bobble-head doll versions of themselves…here’s what would result: chicks hangin’ at the Friends cafe.  When you click on the live screen, these figures sway back and forth, hugging each other and kissing each other on the cheeks. Maybe they’re whispering sweet nothings to one another–maybe it’s the lego version of “The L Word.”

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Continue Reading · on January 8, 2012 in Children, Education, Feminism, Gender, Kids, legos, Politics, pop culture, ranting

(mostly) wordless wednesday: boobs up high

My head is still spinning from our wonderful whirlwind of a visit back to New York. We’re back in Abu Dhabi, which seems even more sedate than usual, in comparison.

Even in the dead of winter, New York manages to have more skin in the game, as it were, than does Abu Dhabi, abayas notwithstanding. Here is an ad that will never ever get plastered on the side of an Abu Dhabi building:

And you know? I can’t say that’s an entirely bad thing. Does a person really need twenty-foot boobs to get herself through the day?

 

Continue Reading · on January 5, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, expat, NYC, street notes, UAE, wordless wednesday

Phone Booths: useful convenience or pedestrian sex-ed opportunity?

I mean really, when is the last time you saw someone actually put a quarter into the phone slot and make a phone call. Is it even a quarter any more?  For that matter, when is the last time that you–or anyone you know–picked up one of those pay phones and actually heard a dial tone?

The booths exist now, I’m sure, as sheer revenue-producing devices for the city, and while I’m all for the city making more money (thus perhaps enabling the sanitation workers to make more money, stop being angry at the mayor, and start picking up garbage), I’m tired of these mini-billboards touting things I don’t want to look at.

Although actually, it’s not the looking that’s the problem. It’s the explaining.

My kids know what “endurance” means. Should I tell them that this ad is for some particularly long-lasting kind of underwear?

How would you explain the relevance of “endurance” to what, exactly, these two people are doing? Or preparing to do?

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Continue Reading · on January 3, 2011 in NYC, sex, street notes

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