Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gillette: The choice of women, girls, and pedophiles everywhere.

Although it isn't technically summer just yet, those of us who are in Toronto right now are experiencing a bit of a pre-summer heat wave. Yesterday was a high of 32.2 degrees and today is supposed to climb to the high 30s as a well. Add humidity and unconditioned apartments and what you'll get is about a billion extra people out in the parks trying to stay cool. Pants are no longer an option, unless you're trying to sweat out a fever. In this kind of weather you've got to be wearing shorts or else you will hate your life and become cranky at everyone in it.

Shorts season can mean very different things to very different people. Style! Comfort! A chance to expose your clammy legs to some sunshine for awhile. For Lorenzo in Christie Pits, shorts season means that he can walk around staring up girls' shorts while he enjoys his tall can of beer. For that dirty old man riding his bike past you, it means he gets to say repugnant things about your vagina, then scream at you when you ignore him.  If you're wearing shorts in the city it's likely that you'll have some crazy person say something nasty to you at least three times a day, to which you'll maybe smile at and try to escape in the hopes that that person won't throw the foul liquid they're clutching in the sun-damaged 7UP bottle into your face.

Shorts season is a hard enough time of the year for women which is why it particularly bothers me to see the hair-removal industry ramp up its advertising visibility right about now. What the company is saying to you is this: if it is 30 degrees plus humidity outside today don't you dare wear shorts unless you first sit in your tiny, stifling bathroom and shave every last hair from your legs. EVERY, LAST, HAIR. And why? Because if you're going to wear shorts you have to be beautiful, and being beautiful means being hairless.

This time of year they have extra ammunition because it was "Winter" and now it's "Summer". This means that women have been lazy allllll season and have amassed an old growth forest of body hair. This particular ad describes it as "winter fur" and apparently men have it as well. The body hair removal industry has found a great customer in men: there are an entire menu of men's services as salons now, including male Brazilian waxes(which one salon lady told me once she would not do, because she didn't like "stretching" the ball skin...), chest waxing, butt waxing, etc. Anything women can have, men can have it too. For men, though, it often seems like more of a choice-- a lifestyle, if you will.

  For women, it's a constant barrage of images and messages reminding you that if you have even a bit of hair on your legs or your armpits, you are so disgusting.My favorite spokesperson for annoying women's products, Jennifer Lopez, illustrates this message: "Be the Goddess of Summer!" Being the Goddess of Summer is made possible by Gillette Venus, which is "easy to use". Effortless, natural. Because not only should you be hairless, but it should probably look like you didn't work very hard to get that way. Gillette Venus is so easy to use that now you can finally enjoy the beach! Hurray!! God Forbid you didn't pack a razor for the beach house, because that means you'll have to stay inside or wear pants and a long sleeved shirt the entire time. That is called oppression. Your body hair is oppressing you, so free yourself you lazy bitch! When you remove the hair from your legs you'll also be revealing the natural "shine" of your skin and a hidden tan. Ta-Da!

I've started noticing these little tiny Facebook ads that are like "shaving tips for girls!" and when you click on it you realize that they really do mean girls and also that you've stumbled into some kind of pink and mauve hell. It is someone's job to create new customers. Sure, women buy razors forever, but what you really need is to get them buying earlier and longer. The perfect target: CHILDREN! What better way to sell razors then to make little girls think that a) Shaving is a rite of passage b)is necessary if they want to be confident and successful,ever and c) that their pre-pubescent legs are as hairy as they should ever get. 

The website features "Tips", presumably based on questions from real girls, about shaving. "When do I shave for the first time?" "How do I ask my mom if I can shave?" "Should I steal her razor and shave secretly?"  The Gillette response is almost always something like this: It's about what feels right for you and makes you feel confident and beautiful. Venus razors give you a close shave, so you can flaunt smooth, beautiful skin no matter what your routine is."

Apparently, if you want to be beautiful and confident your only option is shaving. Nobody is surprised by this because a razor company has to sell razors. Duh. What is very disturbing, however, is HOW they're trying to sell to children. Why does a 10 year old need to flaunt smooth, beautiful skin?  The website has all of these crazy videos featuring this little girl named "Gabby" who "blogs" about shaving. Because, you know, girls should know what she knows, like right?

In this video Gabby says she just HAD to tame the hairy mess that was her legs. She's also not sure if she should tell her mom. The lesson of the video is that your mother knows best and that girls should learn how to be women from their mothers. Interesting, Gillette. Capitalizing on the myth of the perfect, feminine mother. What if your mother is an alcoholic? What if your mother abuses you? What if you don't have a mother! We can ignore all of these variables because the message is what matters: if you are normal you have a mother who will explain how to shave, if you aren't then you should pretend you do because otherwise you aren't normal. Also, you're a hairy little girl.

This next video was where it got extra weird. How on earth can a huge corporation get away with posting a video of a CHILD shaving her legs on the internet?  What all of these videos, culminating in this one, are doing is teaching a young girl that she is for looking at. Her legs are for looking at, which is why they can't be hairy. Her body is for looking at, which is why she has to feel beautiful and confident. Her legs are for the Lorenzo's of the world, and she should accept that early. Teaching girls that they are objects at a young age is really important if you want them to become lifelong consumers of products.
In the video Gabby says "shaving isn't just about getting rid of hair, it's about feeling your best. So if you're playing sports, going on vacation or just looking to wear what's cool having skin that looks good will make you feel good." Because when you're a child you should have to worry that your legs don't look good while you're playing soccer or going camping with your family? And why is that? Because you're not just your own person, little girl, you belong to the world and your legs and armpits are on display at all times. When girls start to think that their decision making isn't about themselves but how other people perceive them, they lose agency. Playing sports is fun, should be fun, and shouldn't be about whether or not you look good doing it. This is how we end up with something like Lingerie Football.

This is horrifying. Of the almost 50'000 hits this video has had, how many do you think are actually young girls curious about shaving? You know what,little girls? Instead of spending your money on razors ask your parents to start a college fund for you. Teach children valuable lessons, don't exploit their insecurities and make them jail bait.

 If you are an adult woman and you like to shave, or want to shave, or need to shave then that is your choice. If you don't want to participate in hair removal, that is also your choice. Or rather, it should be your choice but as we can see from these insane campaigns it really isn't. Why do our legs have to be hairless, tanned, and shiny? Is it really going to be SO horrible if you have some hair on your legs? Are you soooo undesirable? We live in a world where we have to buy so much shit for so many shitty reasons and Gillette is trying to convince little girls that they are sexual objects so that they will buy their stupid razors. So, if you're choosing to shave maybe choose a product that isn't so blatantly hideous and sexist. Oh wait, no company like that actually exists. Oh well, let's all just have a Slumber Party, Gillette Style! (seriously, this exists.)

Sometimes it just really seems like our lives are a George Orwell novel, shocking until we realize that he's actually writing about reality.

Friday, May 25, 2012

These Pamphleteers: Six things to do, say, and not do after your man's sports team loses a big game.

Everyone is all up in arms over this blog "While the Men Watch", which is a blog about two pretty Toronto ladies who get bored when their men watch the sports. I don't get what all the fuss is about, they've hit the nail on the head: while men watch sports, women have got nothing to do!! So they write this blog about funny sports related things and they're best friends forever.

Let's face it, women's lives revolve around their men which means that most of the time ladies are bored while their men do the things they love to do. The thing that men like to do the most is the sports. They love to do and watch the sports! Any and all sports, men are watching and doing them. This is because (and this has been scientifically proven) men have a special gene that makes them bigger, stronger, more active, and so they are biologically inclined to sports. Women don't have this gene. Women have the woman gene, which makes them more likely to be obsessed with things like fashion and eyebrows, and to despise their own body hair. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus: SCIENCE!

Some people are upset. They say ladies like to watch sports, or ladies have their own lives while men watch sports, or that some ladies don't like men. These critics are what is known as FEMINISTS. Feminists are usually confused lesbians who don't shave their armpits. They have very bad haircuts and wear cargo shorts. In brief, they are crazy and really don't know what they're talking about. Also, ugly girls don't like "While the Men Watch" because they are sad and jealous of ladies who have men. 

But really, the only thing they have to be upset about is that the ladies aren't going far enough! Take, for example, their list "The 6 things NOT to say when his Team Loses." 

This list is very thorough. They discuss things like how you shouldn't console your man by saying "at least your team came in second" because the man gene makes men HATE second place. Also, women should always have a secret stash of ice cold beers for when their man is sad and they should open the beer and put it in his hand before he even asks for it. Don't ask your man to do housework or fulfill responsibilities after a big loss. Don't make him see your awful family, because your mom is probably a bitch. Most important on the list, though, are that you should never discuss how his team played or display sports knowledge and you should always, always, always have sex with your man whenever he wants to after his team loses. The ladies say even if you have your period, "under any circumstance" you have to make it happen. On bed rest because you're pregnant? Too bad, don't be selfish! Is your period making you sick and barfy? Well, tough shit. It's your job as a lady attached to a man to pre-empt his every want and desire, and desire= sex.

Seems like a fine list right? NO!  There are so many others that were left out which we'll cover here.

So, without further ado, I introduce:

These Pamphleteers: Things to do, not to do, to say, not to say, when your man's team loses the big game." 

1. "Ask your man for a pre-approved list of things you may say after his team loses."

This one is important because, as the ladies point out, saying the wrong thing is not an option. Governing yourself according to what your man wants coming out of your mouth is your job. If he doesn't want to hear it, you shouldn't be saying it. Having this list will help you avoid a divorce later on. Don't tell him that at least they came in second because "second is dirt" and if you say that, you will be dirt to him too. Some people will tell you that having to censor what you say or do in a relationship is "abuse" but those people are probably just ugly feminists who are crazy anyway. The ladies advise other women to "ease your way out of a bad loss for his team" and this is a great way to do that and it's also a great way to avoid having to hide another black eye from your coworkers.

2. "Men are similar to bears, so know your man bear Safety Tips."

 Don't surprise your man during a big game, especially if his team is losing. Make your presence known by wearing a bell so that he knows where you are at all times. Stay on pre-marked trails in your home that don't cut directly through your man's game space.  If you do accidentally traverse into game space country and your man sees you, remain calm and avoid any sudden movements. If your man pursues you, throw something on the ground(like the laundry basket) to distract him to aid in your escape. Depending on the type of man you have, if an attack is imminent you should either play dead or be loud and stand your ground.

3."Don't tell him: I don't have any pre-masticated food for you."

Your man is sad and he needs comfort. As his lady you are also his maternal replacement figure and so if he needs comfort you have to give it to him. Take a cue from mother birds and Alicia Silverstone. If you just had a baby and are still lactating, put those suckers on ice and have them ready for after the game! Nature was generous to you ladies, now be generous to your man.

4. "Kill your mother."

This may seem extreme but if you think of the big picture, the long term results will be worth it. Your man hates your mother, you hate your mother because he hates her. Like the ladies say on their list, you should never suggest seeing or dining with your in-laws after a big loss because he's too vulnerable to contain his hatred for your mother and the rest of your family. After a really big loss, for instance the Stanley Cup final, a nice thing to do for your man is to lure your mother over to the house (you can also ask some extended family to join, depending on how strong you are), and bludgeon her to death in front of him. This says to your man "even though your team lost, you're still a winner."

5. "Don't just avoid asking your man to fulfill responsibilities after a big loss, do them all yourself."

Because sports are the only important thing to men, the ladies suggest a 48 hour period in which you shouldn't nag him to do anything. First of all, ladies should never nag their men (that's just cruisin for a bruisin) and second, why ask your man to do anything ever? Your man will do the things around the house that he wants to and that make him feel manly, but ladies should do the rest themselves. If you have a job or a volunteer commitment, you should quit them because there are sports all year round. Most important is that you never acknowledge that you did any of the stuff he was supposed to do, and never ask to be recognized for it. After you've finished each job around the house, praise your man for a job well done. There's no reason you can't strap that baby to your chest and change the oil yourself.

6.  "Remember that his team winning or losing is the most important thing in the world."

This one is really the most important rule of all because it's actually how you should govern yourself all year round. Your man watching sports, or playing sports, is imperative and has far reaching effects. Don't say things to him like "I don't care about sports, women still earn 75% of what men earn doing the same job!" Don't say to him "But, I'm watching sports." Don't say to him "I don't love you anymore because you make me organize my life around you and around the sports you watch." Don't say to him "I thought you were coming to my trial today?" Sports watching is directly related to a healthy democracy and women who question that, like women who question anything, are impeding the democratic process. Don't be selfish, ladies.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Nobody wants to be with a girl who is careless about her underarm odour"

A few days ago I was streaming an episode of Top Chef Canada from the Food Network. The worst thing about streaming is that you have to watch the same Ad over and over and over again in between videos. The Food Network ads are usually pretty silly: Rachel Ray selling Ziploc or the Dairy Council extolling you to, for heaven's sake, drink more milk products. The ads are generally aimed at women and sell things that make their lives easier (or at least look easier) like Swiffers or Campbells soup. Most ads aimed at women are mildly offensive, we all know that, but when I saw this particular ad my jaw actually dropped:

First of all, I have to point out that this isn't a new ad, or a new idea. This campaign was actually used last year for a British product called "Sure." This blows my mind even more-- it's already been USED. Didn't women react to it? React as in "take your f-ing Jingle Bells and shove them up your ass Degree, we aren't Reindeer!" 

There are just so many things that are wrong with this ad. What woman needs a "Jingle Bell" on her wrist to realize how much she moves? Humans move. We have legs and arms, pulmonary systems. Women, like many other creatures on earth, are sentient beings and are generally conscious of "moving." But no, Degree has to remind us to be cognizant of exactly how much we move and, more specifically, how much that is going to make us GROSS.

Hailing a taxi? You stink. Rummaging through your bag? You're sweating. Playing sports? Stink AND sweat, you're gross. Running into an old lady? Your armpits made her barf, she died. Standing on the transit? Your armpit is exposed, you're killing everyone on the bus. Apparently, wearing a jingle bill on your wrist will remind you that you're moving, which will be a negative reinforcement reminding you how disgusting you are and have you thank the baby jesus that you put on that 12 hour antiperspirant that morning. 

This sentiment is reaffirmed when you go to the Drug Store to buy your antiperspirant or deodorant. Oh wait, if you're a lady you can't buy deodorant, unless you want to buy the most expensive deodorant on the planet because all they sell at Drug Stores is antiperspirant for women. It's true. Despite the fact that antiperspirants contain extremely harmful ingredients(like aluminum,the number one ingredient that stops the sweat), women are given almost no choice when purchasing. Move over two feet to the men's section and BAM, it's deodorant galore!! 

Despite what this ad says, no person needs to have a product on and in their skin that will stop their sweating for 12 hours. Women especially. We have a plethora of important equipment around our armpits and although there isn't any "concrete" evidence linking toxic chemicals in antiperspirants and breast cancer I think we're all smart enough to assume that rubbing aluminum and parabens into our lymph nodes could potentially cause some disruptions. Doesn't sweating fulfill a biological imperative? We have to sweat!What is wrong with sweating when you're playing tennis? Isn't that one of the great things about sport and fitness? Sweating it out? When I work out I don't want my armpits to be bone dry, because that is creepy.
So not only is Degree insulting women by being all like "you're mooooving!! you're really moving!" they're also trying to sell us a dangerous product. They also think that you should listen to celebrities who ALSO move. Who moves more than anyone else? JENNIFER LOPEZ!!This is from her website:

"If you’re anything like JLo, you love to move. Whether it’s getting down on the dance floor, or chasing after the kids, movement makes you sweat. That’s why we wanted to tell you about Degree with motionSENSE. "

Yes, if you're ANYTHING like JLo you move every single day!  They also show her wearing her jazzy jingle bell bracelet at an event that calls for a sequin dress. Jennifer Lopez runs after her kids, opens doors, dances, wears fancy dresses, and does some low impact sports things just like YOU.

Really, Degree? Jennifer Lopez? That's who you think will make us need your product? Because she's wearing that stupid jingle bell bracelet it's supposed to make us think that we should to? "Oh you know what would look rad with  my sequin gown? Those jingle bells, girl!" No!  No! women don't wear jingle bells!

Do you know who they use to sell Degree to MEN? This guy:

Bear Grylls. Ex Special Forces, survivalist, adventurer. One of the jobs on his resume is actually ADVENTURER. Do you know what he's doing in this particular photo? He is eating a reindeer heart. He climbed Mount Everest the year after an accident that forced him to learn how to walk again. He was on an expedition that crossed the North Atlantic in what is basically a large dinghy. On his survival show this guy squeezed water out of elephant shit in the desert, INTO HIS MOUTH. Degree sells to men using someone who has literally eaten shit on t.v. Women get someone who looks perfect at all times and considers this an accomplishment. Maybe I'd want to buy something from Jennifer  Lopez if she had shit smeared all over her face, but as long as she looks like a robot I'm not interested.

This is how Degree sells to men:

There is no way in hell they're going to be like "Degree asked men to wear these jingle bells on their extreme sports expedition to remind them how much they move!"  You're not going to see men climbing mountains or jumping off cliffs wearing bells. No. Men just move. Men naturally move, but women have to be reminded that they do so. Women move consciously, flawlessly, and in perfectly coordinated outfits. 

I don't really understand why companies spend money on these campaigns, they should just pull old ads from the 1950s because they're selling the exact same sentiment.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, or, Men shooting Robots in the near future.

The trailer for the next Call of Duty game came out today. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 had some high expectations to fulfill and I have to say that, sadly, I'm disappointed by what the trailer suggests.

First of all, the FUTURE. Personally, I really don't like playing games that are set in the future. I'm a Level 54 Redguard in Skyrim and the Dragon Age and Fable series' are my two favorites.  I like games that are set in the past with some futuristic fun things thrown in(like ray guns, and supercharged alien guns) though and once in awhile I enjoy a good First Person shooter game like COD. I dislike future-related games because they always make the future the same, and Black Ops 2 seems to have fallen into this trap: the whole "the technology we made to protect us is being used against us" storyline. I think it's boring. The plot in this latest installment is that the United States is locked in a Cold War with China over "rare earth elements" which are essential for making things like smartphones and computers(oh, and war robots and drones).  The year is 2025 and war is now fought by "unmanned vehicles", robots,and computers which of course leads us into the whole conundrum of "we didn't think of how these machines could be used against us when we were building them!" This is an annoying fact about futuristic games: it's not really futuristic. We have drones now. We wage war with computers right now.

A character in the trailer ominously describes that noone thought to ask "What happens when the enemy steals the key" to these vast unmanned armies. Boring!! Futuristic games never imagine the future as anything but computers, planes with downward facing engines, and wrist computers. I feel like it would be more successful to try to create a future that we haven't all seen a million times before. If you wanted to fight futurey robots  and be betrayed by technology then you would play Gears of War, right?

The next thing that I find annoying about this trailer: MEN!! Men, Men, Men. What the hell is up with all of the men? According to a lot of different articles about Black Ops 2 there will be more women in the game: half the human military will be women and the President of the United States is also a woman. Lucky us!

If you intend to include more women in this game it makes sense to indicate this in the world premiere trailer. Instead what we get is this: "the things they built to keep us safe were turned against us and that's when they figured it out: they'll always need men like us, those who are willing to do what others cannot." Ooooh, the sexist patriotism gives me shivers up and down my spine! I get that a lot of men play Call of Duty, but a lot of women play it too. Women who plays games give Treyarch their money too and they should expect some form of representation. Toss a lady in the trailer, one or two would be fine! Have a lady say a line. Have a lady hold a gun and shoot some shit up. Say "they'll always need PEOPLE" like us". It's not that hard. So half the human military will be female which means maybe half of the people you see being killed or kill yourself will be women, why not toss a female character in?

There have been very few playable female character in the entire Call of Duty franchise and by very few I mean two. Two who are playable in verrrrry limited capacities. Tanya Pavelovna is playable for two campaigns in Finest Hour but is an NPC for the rest of the game. Sarah Michelle Gellar is a character in a Zombies map in the first Black Ops. She appears along side George A. Romero, Danny Trejo, Michael Rooker, and Robert Englund in the most frustrating map of all time. Other than these two the rest of the women are just kind of around and all in all there are about nine women in Call of Duty. Two of those are children and one if Castro's Mistress, who the game guide refers to as a "prostitute" (Surprise, you kill her!). If you've already designed female soldiers to be background characters and NPCs just go ahead and toss one into a main role. It seems like "More Women" is being sold as a feature in Black Ops 2 so it would be cool if that were actually the case. It is the future after all.

I have to say that the only thing I'm excited about is whatever new Zombies stuff is in Black Ops 2. I don't like anything zombie related normally and I think zombie movies and zombie characters are overdone, so Black Ops is my one zombie indulgence. Based on the story line, I won't buy Black Ops 2 until I can find a cheap used copy and even then I'll probably only buy it to shoot zombies. I'm saving my money for whenever Dragon Age III is released.

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