Midweek Media – Camel Girl

So, this is a rather meandering bit of media. It starts with a young woman with a noticeable hump on her back going through daily activities – showering, shaving, trying on new clothes, walking out the door for a night out. Her dialogue runs thus:

I haven’t always felt comfortable with this thing. And obviously it’s pretty hard to pretend it’s not there. I suppose a lot of girls have something about themselves they’re a little uncomfortable with. Something they don’t really have any control over. And it’s not all bad, you know.

For instance, I can go to music festivals all summer and party all night without worrying about topping up with water. I guess we all have our special talents.

Fade-out to the words: This is is a camel person. You are not a camel person. So drink plenty of water this festival season.

And the symbol for Drug Aware, an Australian Agency that campaigns for safe, educated drug use.

Drug aware. Alcohol. Think again.

Thoughts?

Comments

    • scarlett says

      I shared the video with the other writers, and someone said: it might hjave been kinda funny and surreal if, say, you’d had this girl dancing in a club or at an all-day concert, having the time of her life and looking with pity at the mere plebs who have to worry about their water intake while she has her own tank plugged directly into her bloodstream. As I said, the message itself is very valid; it’s no easy to drink alcohol all day in the baking sun at one of these concerts and not realise how dehydrated you are until you get slugged by heatstroke. But the way it’s executed, it feels like it’s saying ‘she’s a freak you doesn’t need to drink water, but the rest of you *normal* people aren’t, so watch your H2O intake’. The first scenario could have been a funny, surreal way of her owning her difference and not giving a shit; the second feels like we’re supposed to feel sorry for her and glad we’re *not* her, with the random ‘I don’t need to drink water’ message tacked on at the end.

      • says

        That was me. If it had just been, “HEy, I’ve got a camel hump, so I can party without hydration!” it would’ve just been bizarre and maybe funny. But the first thought I had was: “OMG, people do actually have back humps. How the hell would this make them feel?”

      • says

        My thoughts exactly. I spent the whole commercial thinking, “can’t she have surgery?” “omg, don’t shave it! the horror!, get laser epilation!” and then it’s about drinking water at festivals? Where’s the water? where’s the festival? And what about the fact that having a bump in you back (which some people do!) does not give you camel powers? What’s next? a person with harelip who can reproduce at the rate of a rabbit?

        That a sucker for dark humour like myself should find this ad tasteless should be telling.

        • scarlett says

          I spent the whole commercial thinking, “can’t she have surgery?” “omg, don’t shave it! the horror!, get laser epilation!” and then it’s about drinking water at festivals? Where’s the water? where’s the festival?

          That’s what I thought when I saw it. Wait, it’s about DRINKING WATER AT FESTIVALS? What an apalling fake-out. Do they think anyone will walk away from this thinking ‘yeah, I really need to watch my water intake at my next all-day festival’? I suspect the only people who will bother to think about the message at the end is those of us who think it’s apalling :(

          Other than that: everytime I see it I shudder thinking that one of these days, she’s going to hurt herself shaving her back with a mirror.

    • Casey says

      When I read the title of the article I pretty much thought they’d be tooling on people with back issues like that.

    • says

      The whole narrative is framed like an ad to help people recognize that folks with disabilities are complete, complex human beings. Maybe they thought they were making up such a far-fetched disability that no one would ever take offense? But it’s tricky to parody a disability acceptance ad in any case, because you’re making a movie with people who don’t have a disability for the amusement of people who don’t have a disability.

      I can’t imagine WHAT they were thinking, but the fact that people do actually have “back humps” was the first thing that occurred to me.

  1. Nicky P says

    lol wait-

    what?

    Okay, I did some looking, and apparently what you have posted is the short version. I’m not sure what the rules are for posting links, so I won’t, but if you go to Google or Youtube and type in “camel girl long version” you can get the three minute video with credits that supplies a heckuva lot more context.

    That version doesn’t seem as bad to me as this one as far as keeping it polite goes. The longer version seems to be saying, “You may feel bad for her, but she’s mostly normal and her hump allows her to stay hydrated and healthy, and that’s what’s really important.” They show her going to a beach, on a date where she’s about to be kissed, feeding a camel, etc. People in the background stare at her a lot though, so…I don’t know what to make of that.

    For the short version, I agree with Renee’s interpretation.

    • says

      You can post a link in a comment where it’s relevant to the article or discussion! (It’s only links that you want Maria to include in LOGI that we ask you to email, because she may miss some comments.)

    • scarlett says

      Yeah, I watched the long version. The short version is what’s playing on Australian television so that’s the one people would be most familiar with and therefor the one I wanted to post.

      Technically, it’s a public awareness campaign, not an ad, which I don’t know if it makes it worse or not. Someone, somewhere thought this was a GOOD way to educate people into staying hydrated?!?!?

  2. says

    It always makes me happy to see people analyzing writing this way. (I mean, the PSA script.) It just makes me happy, haha! Keep up the conversation! For the record, I think a few more nuances might have made the commercial hit home a little bit more.

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