Since airing their ads in the US, it’s safe to say that the Veet Facebook page is virtually on fire with angry consumers. If you haven’t seen the ads – since withdrawn although they may still be knocking around on YouTube – they cover off the premise that a woman with body hair can be mistaken for a man. Several scenarios appear – the one above is a man stroking his girlfriend’s (unshaved) leg and thinking there’s a man in his bed.
It’s supposed to be funny, but it’s not. It’s the latest in a long line of brands using beauty shaming to boost sales. Much as I love the Benefit brand, what’s coming out of the US creatively focuses more than ever on being sexy – i.e. without certain products you won’t be sexy enough is the subliminal message, or that being more sexy will invite more men. As though that’s the ultimate goal for every woman. Dove’s Beauty Patch video (HERE) is thought provoking; it actually brought tears to my eyes because it proves that confidence is so fragile, but even Dove isn’t immune from beauty shaming (remember the ‘beautiful armpits’ deodorant?). And, you have to consider, that moving as the video is, it’s from a beauty brand that wants you to buy more beauty products – to be seen as a trusted voice with your confidence at the heart of its ethos (tell that to the sales team) and pretty much have it all ways.
Beauty, in the broader sense, is only a positive experience if all your confidence ducks are in a row; if you don’t put all your faith in a cream to change your life, if you don’t pray that a new lipstick will make you more attractive to men, if you don’t view normal body variance as abhorrent and if you don’t assume a fragrance will allow others to perceive you more positively. These are all messages sent out by the beauty industry who, as I have said before, as a whole, is the best in the world at knocking you down to build you back up again (with their products, of course!).
We’re in charge of how we absorb and report these messages; bloggers represent the face of real women in the beauty industry now – the beauty industry isn’t ruled by cookie-cutter models any more. And yet, they still try to skew the face of beauty with unrealistic ambition and expectations. If you’re ever a bit eye-rolly about bloggers and blogging, think about what beauty used to be, and think about what it is now. And that’s why instead of buying the Veet message that we need to be prettier for men, more feminine, that a hairy leg is abhorrent on a woman and all the other body hair that we naturally grow is manly and butch, women (and men) have rebelled, big style. Somebody, somewhere should have run that past a blogger for a dose of common sense.
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Totally agree Jane. I don’t find this ad remotely funny either. Not only is it offensive to women there’s a faint whiff of homophobia about it too I think. It pretty much fails on every level and smacks of a company ‘trying’ to be funny. And failing miserably.
Well at the risk of being pilloried by the world, I think it’s funny – this would happen at home (both my husband to me and vice versa)….
What a great post – I completely agree!
A but low for feet to be targeting people’s self esteem
Well said! The beauty industry can be very cruel, my biggest bug bear are “blemish treatments” that actually make your skin worse, making you think you need more from the range. And then when you complain you’re told that no one else has had this issue!!
Blogging is amazing because, on the most part, you are getting an honest, no biased opinion. Leaving consumers free to make their own choices on what they “need”.
Wow I totally agree with everything you said! It’s so hard to know who to trust when it comes to beauty products, and we definitely can’t trust the actual brands themselves because all they want is to sell their product! Such a great post!!
Little Beauty Blog
I totally agree. I personally as I’m sure many others woman do, have self-esteem, confidence issues. I think these types of ads are cruel, no person should be guilt tripped into buying something, women shouldn’t be made to feel self conscious because they don’t own a certain product to make them look a certain way. These ads are trying to hard to be funny in my opinion. Rant over lol.
Lots of women are insecure about this anyway so for Veet to highlight and use that to make us buy the product is wrong. So glad this post is up for reassurance!
I agree with Lee. There’s definitely a smack of homophobia about it. The ads come across as if they’ve been dreamt up by 6ft skinny, blonde elitist marketing ‘gals’ who both gender shame and apply unrealistic goals on both men and women; all whilst thinking anything outside their fabulous little bubble is hilarious. The whole thing is immature.
These ads are very probably created by men at big ad agencies who sit around brainstorming ideas for their client, ideas they thought were humorous and provocative. They need more women in advertising,
I can see what the aim is, they were trying to be tongue in cheek but instead over stepped the mark. That’s the problem with trying to do satire in adverts, it does not sell products as you are alienating your target marketing. It’s all to do with balance and common sense.
Brilliant post. So refreshing to see beauty bloggers dealing with these issues that are so important to their readers. We can love all things beauty and still want to be taken seriously and treated equally. Love to female body hair and down with the patriarchy!
Veet, Veet ad agency (agencies as they are international) have women working for them surely…why don’t they see the negative message in their adverts ? On the funny side the guy on the picture from the commercials looks a bit like Robert Patterson-ish, which made me giggled as he played a vampire among hairy werewolves…