I was walking through the Halifax Shopping Center yesterday evening. I couldn’t help but notice this very large, very pink and in my opinion very skewed banner. With taglines “I am so ready.” and “I am refined.” I’m not 100% sure what kinda message this ad is sending. Especially to this city’s demographic. This is not Toronto. If you look @ these ads closely you’ll notice there are a few brands featured on the bottom of the banner. One being Coach. Not to target Coach specifically but I’m going to assume it is their bag the woman is holding.
If you check out their website you’ll notice their bags start @ roughly $200.00 and climb into the thousands. I guess the question I ask myself in the first ad is WTF are you ready for? And how does your $200.00 plus handbag make you ready for it?
I frequent male dominated employment scenes ie; Construction, Mechanics… “the heavy lifting and dirty work”. And I often read about equality in the workplace. Statistically men still dominate the workforce. And often in situations where woman have made progress they are still paid less then their male counterparts.
Here is the definition of “ready” ; “in a suitable state for an activity, action, or situation; fully prepared” Then I ask what kind of message does this send to woman. This state of readiness, the cost of this state of readiness, the time poured into the readiness. The chemical exposure to nail polish, an array of facial treatments and stimulants, and likely hair coloring or highlights.
I just recently watched in a “Ted Talk’s” titled “Taking it all off” that the average man will spend roughly 1500 Hrs on personal grooming in a lifetime. The average woman will spend nearly three times that amount of time @ 3700 Hrs (not the exact numbers but ballpark and you get the picture) … Does this practice make a gender who is historically and statistically under employed and underpaid in comparison to the male dominated workforce any more ready? No.
Now onto to being refined… I like definitions, here is the definition of “refined”; “with impurities or unwanted elements having been removed by processing.” I’m gonna keep this rant short. I’m making an educated guess here but I am pretty sure the woman in this ad is processed to fuck. From the idea of being elegant and cultured in appearance down to her 3700 Hrs maybe plus per year prep being a model and down to the final touch of Photoshop. It does not get anymore refined or processed than this.
When I see this sorta thing in society it literally makes me nauseated occasionally. The social expectations we place on people to be ready and refined. The cost expectations we associate with these ideas.The environmental impacts. The time we sink into passively teaching these ideas and values to our current and future generations.
I recently took note of a company “Betabrand” featured in Time magazine. Here is a couple quick quotes from the article; “Our designers cooked up a collection of smart fashions for spring, so why not display them on the bodies of women with really big brains?” & “On the one hand, the promotion is an empowering statement, especially for STEM advocates, considering most of the models have or are pursuing PhDs in science and engineering. On the other hand, the women all have the same thin body type and are beautiful by conventional standards, so is it really a revolutionary campaign?”
I think this is progress, not a revolution by any means. Better than making no effort @ all.