When America Was Female

Ignore that poster of Uncle Sam soliciting your military service and dive into history with Garance Franke-Ruta, who tells us all about the days when the symbol of the United States was an armed and armored lady, including pictures of vintage advertising, which I know you all just adore.

Study: Hot Models Only So-So at Selling Products

Researchers from Warwick Business School found that women are turned off by products placed next to large scale or close-up images of female models and celebrities such as Miranda Kerr or Irina Shayk.

According to Dr Tamara Ansons, one of the researchers, this is because a pretty model triggers a coping mechanism in women—scorn—which helps them feel better about their own looks.

Advertising can still successfully utilize thin, attractive women but should not dominate the products being advertised.

“To successfully use idealised images in marketing communications, they should be presented subtly,” said Dr Ansons.

"We found that the way the picture of the perfectly shaped model was used was very important in determining a positive or negative effect on women’s self-perception.

"When exposure to these images of beautiful models is subtle, a subconscious automatic process of upward social comparison takes place leading to a negative self-perception. But that led to a more positive attitude towards the brand.

“Yet when the exposure to the idealised image of a woman is blatant, a conscious process is activated and consumers employ defensive coping strategies.”

So, focus on the product. Seems obvious once it’s been said, doesn’t it?

Young Women, Sexuality, and the Internet

Helena Horton for The F Word blog condemns the culture’s double standard of telling young women to be sexy then vilifying them for being sexual:

Why are we victimising these impressionable young girls? We all know what it is like to be their age, trying to form an identity amongst the mixed messages given to us by our peers, our education and the media. I don’t know why people are surprised by the fact that some girls take on the message that the media gives them: that in order to be worth anything, a girl has to be ‘sexy’.

This isn’t a new idea. None of this is new. But it needs to be reiterated from time to time, because it keeps happening.

Makeup Ad Features Female Bodybuilder

I don’t actually find the ad attractive for the same reason I usually dislike pictures of bodybuilders (male and female): high contrast lighting and oiled skin, designed to show off every curve and angle of the subject’s frame. Well-defined muscles are beautiful in real life, though.

But more important than my preferences is the fact that MAC, a multinational brand, is branching out in terms of the type of bodies they hold up as examples of beauty.

Hasbro Announces Gender-Neutral Easy Bake Oven

Remember the girl who petitioned Hasbro to stop making unnecessarily gendered Easy Bake Ovens? Looks like she succeeded:

Hasbro invited McKenna and her family to its Pawtucket, R.I., headquarters to meet with its Easy-Bake team, during which she was shown a prototype of an Easy-Bake oven in black, silver and blue.

Hasbro has been working on the new color scheme and design for about 18 months, said John Frascotti, Hasbro’s chief marketing officer.

McKenna said the company is doing everything McKenna asked, including putting boys in the ads.

Hurray for Feminism!

It's Not Sex...

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, has debuted a new series of anti-rape ads that focus on obtaining, not withholding, consent. Great photography and straightforward headlines, like “Just Because She Isn’t Saying No… Doesn’t Mean She’s Saying Yes.”

Let’s hope this trend picks up. We need to stop telling people how to not get raped and switch to telling people to not rape.

Via Feministing.

Merry Gender-Neutral Christmas!

To combat gender stereotyping of children, catalog publisher Top Toy has gender-swapped their newest Swedish publication, showing girls playing with guns and boys playing with dolls:

“With the new gender thinking, there is nothing that is right or wrong. It’s not a boy or a girl thing, it’s a toy for children,” Top Toy director of sales Jan Nyberg told TT news agency.

Personally, I enjoyed playing with my friend’s Barbies when I was little, but I think my mom objected to them on the grounds of crass commercialism and reinforcing negative body image.

Bodyform Fake Apologizes for Their Fake-Misleading Ads

A week ago young Richard Neill posted his somewhat amusing pretend outrage at how Bodyform, a maker of feminine hygiene products, had misled him about the nature of menstruation and its effects on women. Bodyform has responded with a much more amusing apology.

Elle Fanning: Officially The Scent of Underage Sex

This new extended ad—more like a very short art film—for Lolita Lempicka perfume stars Elle Fanning, dressed in clothes that match her skin tone and gazing into the camera with her mouth open.

It’s hard to see it as anything but a deliberate Lolita reference, and since Fanning is only 14, a much-too-literal one.

Via my friend Joe, who doesn’t get a link because he doesn’t exist on the internet in any meaningful sense.