Monday, September 16, 2013

This is a post about body hair and sexism in marketing.

...So, you know, probably don't read this, if that's not what you're into. 

Yesterday, I went running. Or, more accurately, I went "sad slow jogging while sweating a lot" because it's the South and I'm, at this stage, more potato than person. But I was out and I was active, so I was proud of myself in my own sad slow jogger way. On the way home from the running trail, I stopped by CVS, because I needed some hair dye to cover up my ratchet roots. 

While I wandered CVS, exulting in the air conditioning and not exulting so much in the feeling of sweat drying and making my shirt all crinkly, I saw that lip gloss was on sale. Oh, I thought, obvious lip gloss-fiend that I am, I should definitely buy, like, all that lip gloss. 

In the end, I bought two, but I discovered, upon holding them up to see how the color swatches looked next to my face, that, without makeup, having run a couple of miles in the excruciating heat, I looked like one of those red-faced rainbow baboons from the zoo. My whole face was just beet-red. So the moral here is it's really hard to choose an appropriately red lip gloss shade when your face is the hue of a fire truck. 

An aisle over, I found another item I needed: an electric razor. Now, I was at CVS, remember, so the selection wasn't overwhelming. But they had men's electric razors on one side, and women's on the other. 

And here's where I got super confused. Because women shave their bodies more frequently, at least generally, than men do. Some men shave their legs and that's awesome, but overall, that's a chick thing. So women's body electric razors should be super powerful. They should be the ubermeich of razors, durable and amphibious and self-sharpening and shit. 

But they weren't. All the women's razors looked like Barbie accessories. Pink and magenta and white and clearly poorly assembled plastic. But the men's razors - they were all blue and black and metal and spinny and worked in water and in air and there were covered in little black spider symbols and I'm not sure what spiders have to do with shaving but they looked like they could handle my body hair. The Barbie shavers looked like they were meant to sit and just...be. They couldn't have shaved a butterfly, let alone the stubborn leg hairs of a Valkyrie, as all women deserve. 

In the end, I decided on a men's spidery razor thing designed for "trimming and shaving below the head," because that sounded like it meant business. Here's the thing, though: why does my gender or sex mean advertisers should target me for a razor that looks like the very sight of body hair frightens it, while men are targeted for products that are all about serious shaving, not Barbie-esque artifice? In what world is that fair? Because I was born with certain secondary sex characteristics, I obviously want a razor that's pink and has white flowers on it. Bitch, no. I need to shave my legs; I need a razor that's covered in spiders and shit that can actually shear my leg fleece, not just look like I wanted to match my toilette utilities to my AA-powered Corvette. 

I know this is a futile rant, but I'm really tired of sexism in marketing and advertising. (This is different than sex in advertising. I am aware sex sells. That's a topic for another time.) I'm tired of little girls thinking that they can't play with guns because they're not pink and glittery. Because Nerf is frigging awesome. And I'm tired of women thinking they can't have the ubermeich of razors because there's a sign over it designating it for a different gender. That might not ever change, but it's sure as hell exhausting. 

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