Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Do I still get to call myself a feminist?

Last week while parusing facebook I saw this.  It's an ad for The Body Shop (obviously).  I guess Matel sued and the ad was taken down before it was even distributed.

I wanted to love this ad.  I wanted to feel like I felt with the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.

But I didn't.  I didn't feel empowered.  I didn't feel like I was given tools to deal with the pressures that society puts on me and I put on myself.  I almost felt like they were poking fun.  Is it the over sexualized pose? the frizzy hair? the eyes?  I just don't know.  It could be my own prejudices coming out (we've talked before about my food and body issues) but I don't know why we have to pull our image of sexuality from a woman (of any shape or size) with pouty lips, ratted hair and a seductive stance.  It just feels like that woman is trying to be what men think is sexy.  

I find the women in the Dove ads about 100x more sexy than the come-hither pose of The Body Shop.

Is is just me?  Do I have to take feminist off of the list of words I use to describe myself?

**Due to an overwhelming response we will not be reading American Pastoral for July.  Lisa described it by saying "American Pastoral is a DARK book. There are scenes that still haunt me a decade after reading it."  I'm not sure I'm up to that after March.  So let's take a break and read something that isn't going to leave us losing faith in humanity. Let's step away from the Pulitzer Prize winners and read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin which Lisa also recommends.


  1. I fear I am becoming an over-commenter! It's okay. I think it means you inspire my thoughts, Sallee. p.s., you are still a feminist!

    I was too thin for too long, due to a hot mess of nicotine, ulcers and sadness. And yet that skinny body was "rewarded" by society in so many ways, with little regard to the condition of the girl inside it.

    Coming from that, I don't love the Dove ads for yet another set of reasons. Who decides what makes a woman "real"? I am not a fan of superskinny models, or the weird place our world has gotten to where only white, tall, young, and painfully thin women are considered lovely. But-- those are still real women. Old women, big women, tiny women, anorexic women, handicapped women-- they are all REAL, each with their own kinds of beauty. Dove was going in the right direction with the right intention, I think, but things fell short along the way.

  2. The ad creeps me out too, Sallee. For me, it's the doll aspect--just as objectified as a skinny Barbie. Her parts evoke an assembly line, interchangeable and mass-produced.