femmecomplexe

Go Fresh

In Portrait of a Lady on December 4, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Continuing on with the advertisement theme I thought I’d talk a little bit about body wash and shampoo commercials, probably the first thing that pops into my mind when I think of women in advertisements.  Since I don’t watch TV while at university the latest commercial that I can remember is the Dove go fresh body wash ones, oh, and the Reebok commercials, but I’ll talk about that after this.  Now, considering that body wash is about washing the body, and the majority of products are catered to women (which ties into ideas about beauty and personal care to be discussed later), it seems logical that the commercials would have a woman in them, with her and the wash somehow interacting together.  Here’s an example:

Showering is an intimate personal experience, but with this commercial, we get to watch a public simulation of it, and it makes washing one’s body appear quite enjoyable.  Now I love being clean, it’s a wonderful feeling, but I’m not sure if I shower in the fashion that this commercial portrays.  Watching it I almost want to go out and buy myself some dove body wash – I mean who doesn’t like water and lathered soap and tropical plants all combined to make breathy noises.  And then when I’m done washing I can make a kissing sound and giggle to proclaim my satisfaction with the wash.  I can be both woman and girl, the perfect mix of sexuality and fun. 

Now, each person may have a slightly different perception of these commercials, but for me they present the idea of good clean fun sensuality because there a sense of natural beauty being expressed here.  And since natural is all the rage now, women want to appear natural but beautiful at the same time, though of course the concept of beauty is difficult to determine.  This is portrayed through the camera shots of different sections of the woman’s body and her apparent lack of makeup – getting out of the shower is probably when we’re in our most natural states.  The fleeting shots of the woman’s smiling face and body parts has a sort of teasing affect, while giving me the impression that women can be viewed and analyzed based on their body parts.  And in our culture women often are broken down into parts: butt, boobs, face, legs, stomach, shoulders…you name it, we can deconstruct every aspect of a woman’s body and critique it.  It’s a favorite pastime and women are the most guilty of it.  It is important to have healthy skin and keep it clean and moisturized but females have an obsession with it and these Dove Go Fresh commercials cater to that obsession.  If we don’t have perfect skin, the gender we’ll probably get the most crap is from other females because the society has been able to infiltrate our minds and we now ingurgitate the ideas of beauty we are supposed to possess.  I’m not saying every woman does, or that men aren’t increasingly being objectified and viewed piece by piece, but for women it’s proportionately more.  Ever ask a guy for lotion or chap stick? Well, I have and they get offended by it.  “What, psh, no, why would I have that, I’m not a girl.  You’re the one who should be carry that stuff”, is how they usually respond.  Ok, yes, if I’m in need of something I should carry it myself, but how much of a nuisance would it be to carry lotion around all the time? And there’s no need to get offended.  Jeesh.  What, does winter not give guys chafing hands and chapped lips as well? Or wait; is it manly to have peeling skin and cracked lips?

Some of the other commercials:

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