Saturday, April 25, 2009

On Ads: Skin Care and Hair-removing Products

What's with these ads implying that the only reason women don't show skin is that they aren't hairless enough?

First there was Katrina Kaif in a Veet ad, apparently feeling 'confident' about tearing off her dress sleeves before walking on the ramp only because she had remembered to use Veet to get hair off her arms. 

Worse, there's Kareena Kapoor for Anne French who reveals her shoulders and arms while other women pull at their sleeves and scarves: "Twacha ho khoobsurat, toh darr kaisa?" ("Why be afraid when you have beautiful skin?" or something to that effect.) 

I suppose the reason she doesn't walk about naked is that she has a hairy torso, and Anne French only works on arms and legs?

And did anyone catch that one where a tennis player wears long pants and long-sleeved tops because her arms and legs aren't pretty enough? And she's told she has to wear a tennis dress for the actual match because, don't you know, it's not about how you play, it's about how much (hairless and pale) skin you show?

And of course she wins the match, because hallelujah! her skin is pretty and she can wear a dress now!

Edited on 26 April 2009: I just saw the ad again, and it's for some Vaseline body lotion. Apparently, the reason she didn't show her limbs was because they weren't the same colour as her face! So Vaseline comes to the rescue and ensures her legs are as white as her face. Now, I not only wonder why she doesn't use Vaseline all over her body, I also wonder how Vaseline knows exactly what colour all of our faces are! Does it magically take on the colour of the face of whoever uses it? Or can only women whose faces are a certain shade of white use it? 

17 comments:

Rohini said...

insane ads they r, i agree, whoever comes up with those plots?

Unmana said...

Rohini: I'm not sure about 'insane' though. I think they're meant to play into women's insecurities about their bodies, which is sad - but I'm sure they work, which is even more sad.

Are you the same Rohini who used to comment here earlier?

@lankr1ta said...

All advertisements play into insecurities- and it is horrible how many of them are directed at women. Haircare, skin, diet products, kitchen products, tanning lotion, etc etc etc....

Dove had done a very good spot on "Talk to your daughters before "they"(the ads) talk to her" Will send you the link.

@lankr1ta said...

This is the ad

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x33tfz_doveonslaught_family

simplypallu said...

That Vaseline ad makes me go arrrrrrrgh. Dunno why. The hair-removing and bleaching ones I simply ignore.
The whole world of ads is based upon making us feel insecure about what we are at the moment.

Unmana said...

Alankrita: I've read a lot about Dove's 'real beauty' campaigns (that they don't air in India). But it is a brand owned by Unilever - the same company that markets Vaseline - and perhaps the worst of all - Fair and Lovely. What's the point of praising women's 'real beauty' in the US when you sell a cream claiming to make women fairer in India?

Pallu: I can't ignore them: they make me angry.

Laksh said...

My first time here and was compelled to leave a comment. Ads like this really do tick me off. The sad thing though is that I often end up waxing or using these products because I am giving in to these stereotypes. :(

Unmana said...

Laksh: I don't think it's bad if you wax or use hair-removing products if you want to. But these ads implying we need to be ashamed of our bodies if they are not completely hairless are ridiculous and deplorable. Please don't let someone's ridiculous ideas set your standards or acceptability.

And welcome here! Please keep visiting.

dipali said...

I have so many issues with so many ads, don't know where to begin.

Unmana said...

Dipali: I do too. So I thought instead of just stewing over it or ranting to the Guy, I would throw my thoughts at the world.

Why don't you suggest a few more we can tear apart?

diya said...

asinine ads but when you hear that fairness products sell like hot cakes in this country, then you wonder...aparently you can fool (if not all then) quite a few number of people all the time!

dipali said...

You are tagged!

Unmana said...

Diya: I know, of all of these I probably hate "fairness products" the most. I don't know about 'fooling' though, these products might very well work - but I don't think what they're trying to sell is worth buying. And they try to play on women's self-esteem to sell.

Unmana said...

Dipali: That's funny - I just put in my comment and saw you had left one a few seconds ago! :-)

I am tagged? Where? I can't seem to find it on your blog...

Umananda said...

I might sound against the tide. But fail to agree to this topic.
Advertisement brings out the hidden fear, love, affection, desire and align it to a product offering. If there's a need amongst the fair-sex to be fairer marketers will try to hook their ambition.
Yes, i do agree that it creates the superior-inferior agenda. But they are simply uplifting a prevailing ambition. it's something like "'I want to be beautiful and steal the show. Alas my skin'- worry not we are here to help you out. "
I don't know whether these products live up to "das din mein nikhar" promise or not. If not a consumer can obviously approach Advertising Standard Council of India. before that just take care of that hidden astrix:)

Unmana said...

Umananda: What part exactly do you not agree with?

As for your point about advertising playing into hidden fears etc., I did mention in the comments that these ads are meant to play on women's insecurities - but how does that make them any better?

Amodini said...

Unmana,
I agree - such ads. denigrate women for being what they are - real women, not the hairless, pale creatures we apparently "ought" to be. My grouse is not against beauty products (I use quite a few) - it is at the suggestion that who do not use them are somehow diminished.