Mow the Lawn

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An LJ flister posted this on her journal the other day, with a subject line about being rendered speechless. After watching it, I too was left without a word to utter.

I still can’t decide what’s the worst thing about this ad. The message that every woman must remove every single hair from her body to be a socially acceptable person, or that the Asian and white women go daintily about their business and the black woman goes at her bush with a frigging chainsaw.

I get they are going for tongue-in-cheek, but I am left vaguely horrified by this, not amused.

Comments

  1. Tersa says

    And to top it off this commercial made it to the front page of digg and everyone thought it was hillarious! and were sad that it wouldn’t be played in the US in all it’s glory. (i’m assuming your posting the british version, didn’t want to watch the damn thing again)

  2. sbg says

    Yep, it’s a British ad. With any luck, it or anything like it will never air over here in the States.

    Oh, but don’t worry, we’ve got a lovely innuendo-filled ad from Quizno’s running over here that’s almost as squicky, if for different reasons:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LQpRQh2KSQ

    And I thought it was bad when Subway referred to their sandwiches as “Yum Rockets.”

  3. Tomoko says

    The Quizno’s commercial is even worse if you hear HAL’s voice when the oven’s talking… AAHHH MY SANITY!

  4. says

    oh, thankyou for saying something! I saw this on boingboing and thought it was terrible!! Especially the part where the black woman has an out-of-control bush and the asian woman has a ‘tiny’ one. Um, hello? I’ve been in change rooms, asian women can be just as out of control!! As can white women.
    Also the fact that these women are all prancing around in little outfits in the middle of the day in the suburbs seems to me as a ‘women as housewives’ thing, but without recognising that being a housewife is hard work and prancing is not really in the job description.
    The tagline at the end ‘free your skin’ annoyed me too; actually, my skin much prefers to be covered in hair – I was made that way for a reason.

  5. Fiona says

    . The message that every woman must remove every single hair from her body to be a socially acceptable person
    Looks like they’re kindly allowing us to have nice heart-shaped shrubbery now…

  6. Biku says

    I saw this ad on Digg and was hoping it would show up here for discussion (but had no idea how to request such a thing). What disturbed me more than the imagery of the ad itself–which is perfectly in line with what most of the fashion/cosmetic industry thinks–were the responses on Digg itself. They were a revealing read. Apparently any woman who doesn’t wax or shave her bush is “lazy” and the resulting “mess” is nauseating.

  7. says

    This might be one of the most offensive ads I’ve seen in recent memory.

    Horribly racist stereotypes aside, the ad also suggests that women need to shave to feel “tidy” and not “rough around the edges” (implying that if you don’t shave, you’re dirty, untidy, messy). Argh!

  8. says

    Biku, in the future, feel free to point things like this out to us via the contact email form:

    http://thehathorlegacy.com/contact/ (in the right sidebar, with the text “email us”)

    In addition to everything else you guys have covered: once again, women are being told that the solution to “feeling blue” or like things are out of control is to change ourselves, not our life situations. Couldn’t be our lives or the people in them we need to “trim” away, could it?

  9. Charles RB says

    WHY are they so happy about gardening/shaving? It’s creeping me out, I’ve never seen a razor ad with people so ecstatic about it.

    re Digg: did those guys confirm whether or not they regularly shaved their pubes?

  10. Biku says

    Thanks Jennifer, I will happily email when something like this comes up in the future! Although hopefully it never does again. (*pause for laughter*)

    It is interesting that men’s razor ads are about turbo blades and super-efficiency while women’s ads are about being FUN! Personally I prefer a sharp razor myself.

    Considering the sorts of people who post on Digg, I imagine the suggestion that they shave their pubes would be met with the utmost horror. I might have to suggest it. :)

  11. Charles RB says

    Do it. DO IT.

    I remember Gillette’s men razor ads having images of jet fighters and wooshing sounds and names like “MACH 3″. There’s a fundamental difference here to ads like the Abomination up there, and what they seem to be pushing on the target audience.

    In fact, the thing that ad most reminds me of was a gag-advert in Disney’s Dinosaurs, advertising a machine that _sandpapered women’s legs_ so the scales could be smoother.

    Woman In Ad: “Ow, this hurts!”
    Smiling Company Man: “Yes, but boys will like it!”

    (A later ep had “You’re watching the Old Boys Network…”).

  12. Melanie says

    And what’s with the pink lawn mowers and leaf blowers? Not only do we have to ‘trim the hedges’ (WTF?!), but we have to have things coded pink so that we know it’s ok for our little girl hands to touch them? Eeesh.

  13. sbg says

    In fact, the thing that ad most reminds me of was a gag-advert in Disney’s Dinosaurs, advertising a machine that _sandpapered women’s legs_ so the scales could be smoother.

    Oh, Charles RB. There’s a product exactly like that for women. It’s femininely pink, but don’t worry – the ad makes it clear men can use it, too. Exciting!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he5wd_RJqbM&feature=player_embedded

    Because surely taking sandpaper to one’s body is much more comfortable than a razor. Or, you know, not removing hair at all. (Seriously, it cracks me up that they say “Ouch!” to the razor but mention four other more painful options before it with nary a word. ;)

    I digress.

  14. sbg says

    The tagline at the end ‘free your skin’ annoyed me too; actually, my skin much prefers to be covered in hair – I was made that way for a reason.

    Clearly you are not a real woman, Joss. Get with the program!

    /end sarcasm

  15. sbg says

    It is interesting that men’s razor ads are about turbo blades and super-efficiency while women’s ads are about being FUN! Personally I prefer a sharp razor myself.

    Yeah. I might be misremembering, but men’s razor ads seem to be all about the performance of the device itself, not how happy happy hair-free the man will be as a result. Or if that is mentioned, invariably there will be a woman present, stroking the smooth, freshly-shaved cheek of a man.

    Not once can I remember thinking the point was that men would somehow be relieved of the burden of hair.

  16. SunlessNick says

    [quote]Not once can I remember thinking the point was that men would somehow be relieved of the burden of hair.[/quote]My beard is heavy. It makes me nod.

  17. Charles RB says

    re sbg: Yeah, the only reason I ever saw given for shaving in razor ads was because inevitably a sexy woman will turn up to stroke your chin. Simultaneously, stubble is an immediate sign of being a tough badass in TV, film etc – I don’t think there’s a female equivalent.

  18. Biku says

    All the comments about men needing to shave their pubes as well were dugg down. :S

    The stubbly female equivalent is, of course, either spinster aunts with hairy chins, or feminists (who generally just need a “cuter” friend to sort them out). Either way, having any sort of hair beyond long, glorious tresses on your head will prevent you from finding a man. According to TV.

  19. sbg says

    Simultaneously, stubble is an immediate sign of being a tough badass in TV, film etc – I don’t think there’s a female equivalent.

    That’s because women aren’t supposed to be badasses. If they are, they’d better look good in skin tight clothing (leather trousers, yes!) and have not a hair out of place once they’re done being all badassy.

    And also, must be able to run at fast speeds in four inch heels.

  20. sbg says

    All the comments about men needing to shave their pubes as well were dugg down. :S

    Oh my. I’m shocked at this unforeseen turn of events.

  21. MaggieCat says

    I remember Gillette’s men razor ads having images of jet fighters and wooshing sounds and names like “MACH 3″. There’s a fundamental difference here to ads like the Abomination up there, and what they seem to be pushing on the target audience.

    Ads for things that are supposed to do some sort of work frequently try to make it seem fun enough that you might almost forget it’s work — like that Gene Kelly inspired hard-floor vacuum thing a few years back — basically the “spoonful of sugar” sales pitch.

    Since men are obviously not required to shave as devotedly as women are, they have the luxury of choosing a product that’s appealingly functional. For women on the other hand, it’s as basic a requirement as breathing so the advertisers are helpfully trying to distract us from the unpleasantness and ickyness of reality. Just about the nicest thing I’ve seen all week.

    (Was that too bitter? I’m having trouble judging where the line is at the moment.)

  22. Pocket Nerd says

    Some guys do… ahem… mow the lawn. Some even shave their armpits or chests. Of course, like your weight or your wardrobe, body shaving is regarded as an aesthetic choice for men, but an obligation for women.

  23. Charles RB says

    re sbg – see, I’d have thought having hair out of place, sweat, dirt etc would be more badassy as it implies they’ve just gone and done something badass to someone.

    (Being male, I’m not coming out against leather leggings though…)

  24. sbg says

    There’s a somewhat subtler version running in the US. I saw it on VH1 a couple of weeks ago. Same “bush” euphemism, though.

    Magically reshaped bushes, nonetheless. Wonderful.

    All sarcasm aside, though, that version is slightly more tasteful.

  25. says

    Not only “untidy”, but the ad refers to “weeds”. Last time I looked, I didn’t have bindii and Paterson’s Curse taking root in my crotch.

    Was I the only one who noticed that there are two women mowing each lawn? Maybe the shiny suburban setting isn’t quite as heteronormative as it appears…

  26. sbg says

    Not only “untidy”, but the ad refers to “weeds”. Last time I looked, I didn’t have bindii and Paterson’s Curse taking root in my crotch.

    *spews water onto monitor*

    For some reason this morning, I was thinking about this product, and the weird Smooth Away sandpaper system and thought what a handy reason those are to get out of something.

    “Oh, I can’t do that tonight. I’ve scheduled the landscaping…” [here is where you point delicately to your crotch] “… tonight, if you know what I mean.”

    Was I the only one who noticed that there are two women mowing each lawn? Maybe the shiny suburban setting isn’t quite as heteronormative as it appears…

    You did it! You managed to find the only thing that could come even close to being positive about this ad. ;)

  27. sbg says

    ETA for the above: Meaning,many people would probably refute that interpretation as being implausible or something.

  28. amymccabe says

    *waves*

    That was my lj you saw it on! *smiles*

    I’m still not sure if I could make a coherent commentary on this video.

  29. SarahSyna says

    This reminds me of talking to my friend about body hair once and mentioning that I don’t like guys with hairy armpits. The conversation then went some like ‘But… guys don’t have to shave there. It’s alright for them.’ ‘I think it’s gross anyone, guys included’ ‘But, they don’t have to shave.’ ‘Well, one that wants to cuddle with me does’.
    Seriously though, I think armpit hair on anyone is kind of ick because of the sweat and the smell.

    And as for down there… Who is brave enough to risk accidental scarring/castration? *shudder*

  30. ACW says

    RE: Nearly’s post with the US version… and *again* with the ‘free your skin’… because, you know, it’s smothering. Or something.
    I’m just waiting for an ad company to come across with just a touch of honesty, along the lines of:
    “Yeah. We know it’s hosed that you are expected to shave areas that would best be left alone. We know that most of the razors out there marketed for women are crap. But we also know that if you don’t shave, the girls in the locker room or on your swim team are going to give you hell, and your mate is going to talk trash behind your back. No, that’s not fair, and yes, this ad is perpetuating that behavior. But, what choice do you have? Buy our razor.”

  31. MaggieCat says

    Throw in “it’s also available in colours that aren’t pink” and I think you might have just captured well over half the market.

  32. says

    We know that most of the razors out there marketed for women are crap.

    That’s absolutely true, btw – just want to reinforce the point to anyone reading this who still thinks she’s supposed to buy a woman’s razor. Women’s razors are so far below men’s in quality, it isn’t even a contest. And there is absolutely no difference between them other than the poor quality.

  33. Sara K. says

    This is a terrible commerical in terms of femininity! It sends a message that the stereotypical “housewife” now on top of everything she already does, she has to “mow the lawn”. Who was the one that decided to “trim the edges”? Shouldn’t it be a woman’s decision to “keep it tidy”?

    Since when are outside home improvement tools pink? And when have you ever seen a woman trimming the yard in a pair of high heels? Come on! We can’t do it all!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Several feminist blogs have recently posted about an advert for yet another product selling women hairlessness as the way to be beautiful. This morning, then, I took a feminist action in the shower: I didn’t shave. It’s easy for me to dismiss this (I didn’t shave because I’m lazy, because I’ve never shaved, because I always cut myself…) but it only takes the continuation of advertising like this (or the continued existence of young men like a former intimate acquaintance of mine who thought he’d like to have sex with me again but only once I’d trimmed a bit down there), to keep this in the realm of feminist actions. Something similar applies to the make-up I never wear. [...]

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