Is the Veet ‘don’t risk dudeness’ ad sexist?
(I don’t like jumping on bandwagons, but I guess I just really like thinking about body hair???)
Everybody knows that hair-removal ads usually place themselves in luscious tropical waterfalls with hairless, bronzed models dragging sharp razors over their hairless, bronzed legs and armpits. They’re silky, pink, feminine and gorgeous and they are the epitome of the feminine ideal.
Veet has decided to take a different approach. They are excited because ‘this is the first time the brand has taken a comedic approach to address women’s hair removal’. I like comedy and I know you shouldn’t take it too seriously, but I think this ad is awful. I suppose Veet decided most women don’t spend that long at tropical waterfalls, and so instead of showing the product in an aspirational, dream-like location they instead have focused on women’s normal life. And in doing so attempted to persuade us to buy Veet products by encouraging us to feel shame and disgrace in our everyday lives.
The situations are absurd: lying in bed trying to cuddle your boyfriend, absent-mindedly hailing and taxi and going to to the pedicurists. That’s what women spend their days doing, right?! Unable to drive, we catch a cabs to get between the bedroom and the beauty parlour. And with all the extra time that leaves us in the day, while our menfolk are out working and being productive, its no wonder they greet us with complete repulsion because we haven’t managed to at least shave today, I mean for god’s sake.
The stupid problem with the ad is that this brand, that is aimed at women (that presumably employs women? Right?), is so wholly and completely out of touch with women’s reality. The most startling reality check for them might be that if you don’t shave for a day, literally nobody cares. Literally nobody notices. Your boyfriend, your housemates, your taxi-driver, your pedicurist….they don’t care.
The problem with hair removal ads in general is that they perpetuate the cruel and damaging myth that women’s bodies (especially women’s natural bodies) are repulsive. It shouldn’t be okay for people to say they are disgusted by female body hair. But it is okay for people to say that, because in our society female body hair is such an abomination that it incites repulsion and shame. If we’re shameful of the very nature of our bodies, how will we react in relationships with others – especially with men, whose bodies (we are taught) are more important than our own?
I don’t care if people shave or not, I quite like it when they don’t because its nice to see somebody valuing their own desires about how to spend their time and treat their body above the ridiculous expectations imposed on them by society. I understand some people find a hairless leg sexier than a hairy one, maybe for most people it does look better. But hairless leg doesn’t look that much better. Its the same body. And hopefully the purpose of existence is more than just looking sexy to everyone all the time.
All that anger and I haven’t even mentioned the homophobic and transphobic problems with this campaign!
I like this article about body hair:
cya later gonna go shave