Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Meredith A. Love and Brenda Helmbrecht's writing on the state of feminism in the modern world that we live in got me thinking. How can I be a feminist in a world where being a feminist is somewhat in the past. Well, Love and Helmbrecht point out how even though, we're in a time that could be considered the "Third Wave" of Feminism, we can still see the remnants of decades past.

One of the quotes at the beginning of the article really struck me. "If representational visibility equals power, then almost-naked white women should be running Western culture." The quote from Peggy Phelan got me thinking about the kinds of imagery that's pumped out at us all day, everyday. Look at this Victoria's Secret commercial. It's scary how small these women are. I don't mean small in the sense of short or in build. Those women are REALLY THIN. Too thin. Honestly, when was the last time you saw a woman THAT thin? Maybe it's just a Rhode Island thing, but I haven't seen a woman looking like that for quite some time. Besides that, why are they in lingerie in the desert? Oh wait, Michael Bay directed that. Never mind.

I liked how Love and Helmbrecht mention the Dove commercials and how they used "normal" women in their ad campaign. Not these ultra-thin, seven feet tall supermodels, just women that you could easily see any day of the week. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind looking at a skinny, towering blonde in high heels walking around the desert but I would much rather hear from a woman that could be a classmate or a next-door neighbor. I find the latter much more believable.

Discussion Point: This made me think a little more. What do women think about these ads? What is the point of having a particular looking woman in those commercials? Does anybody else think that Victoria's Secret could benefit from having more normal looking models instead of the ones that I already mentioned?

1 comment:

  1. Good post. One issue discussed in "Teaching the Conflicts" is that even though the Dove ad campaign focuses on real, natural, everyday women, many women found in their analysis of the campaign that even the "real" women weren't all that curvy. It seems to be a step in the right direction. The question posed in this regard though, was whether Dove is truly challenging beauty standards, or only subtly reifying popular notions of beauty. It seems that even with Dove's choice of change, there is still a lack of true reflection of natural women. Your question on Victoria Secret models is interesting to consider. I can see how using more commonly figured women might help some consumers identify more with the products. Yet it's current marketing benefits from young women who wish to emulate the stick figure models that represent what is seen as perfection of the female form. Good discussion for class.