I was giving a friend a tour of the city in which I live when we happened by the Federal Army & Navy Surplus store. The display windows were decked out, naturally, with guys in BDUs and uniforms, all in combat positions and carrying fake weapons of various sizes. That wasn’t to be unexpected for the type of store, of course. What caught my attention, and my friend’s attention, was that the lone female mannequin was dressed in a camouflage-print string bikini, with a stars and stripes bandana on her head and a weapon dangling prettily from her hand. She wasn’t posed in a particularly combative position, but rather like a model at the end of the runway.
It’s fairly obvious a woman in the military wouldn’t be traipsing around a combat field wearing such an outfit, and yet the display clearly made it seem this way. The men were all appropriately dressed for the situation being portrayed, and the woman was most certainly not. It left me quite disgusted. The underlying message seemed to be that men will shop at Army/Navy surplus stores for military gear, and women will go there for…cute bikinis.
I know this isn’t taking notice of a media ad, per se, but I’m hoping someone will be able to come up with other examples of this type of thing, in advertising, television or movies. (Like, is it necessary for Jessica Simpson to be wearing her Daisy Duke outfit to sell pizza of all things?) It’s, I suppose, simply another case of the prettification of women, and it seemed even more blatant than usual to me and my rather non-feminist friend.