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 If you haven’t seen the ads – since withdrawn although they may still be knocking around on YouTube – they cover off the premise that a woman with body hair can be mistaken for a man.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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