I Am That Girl Now

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Dove ads, an added bonus thought

You know what occurred to me after I wrote all that? The thing that really pisses me off is the fact that these guys feel that they have the perfect right to say this shit.

First of all, these ads are seriously not made for them. If they want to feel that nice happy tingle in their nether regions over an ad, they have plenty of places to look. Damn well everything advertised to men uses busty gumby-thin women as backdrops or accessories. Really, if they don't want to look at the Dove ads, they can do what they're obviously doing when it comes to the real women walking past them on the street or in their office (or, God help the poor gals, in their homes): avert their eyes and pretend they don't exist. There will be eye-candy on the next El stop, I guarantee it. These guys are not hurting for options, no matter what their puffed-up sense of entitlement demands. They have enough; we can have this scrap of the advertising world to call our own.

Second of all, I'm still staggered at the idea that they feel that these women should not be seen. I'm sorry, what? They seem to feel the need to scold the advertisers, to chastise them, to put these women back in their proper place-- amongst the unseen, ignorable masses. They don't want to see them posing and proud and sexy up on a billboard. Possibly the key word there is "proud"-- here we have it again, this sense that if a woman is not perfect, she needs to be shamed. That the only women who have the right to bring attention to themselves are the perfect women-- so defined as the ones who are desirable and hence can be dismissed as sex objects. Maybe I'm overanalyzing this, but there's a definite sense here that these guys want to put these women in their place. Knock them down. Shake a chiding finger at them. Shame them. Remind them of what their proper role in life is-- being invisible. Like a child. Or a servant.

Dude. Very bigoted.

Third, what the hell is up with this idea that billboards are to be reserved for unattainably perfect specimens that one can fantasize about-- and the corresponding, unspoken assumption that ordinary women are not fantasy material? My God, what did men ever do for fantasy before there was internet porn and sex-saturated advertising? They were stuck having to fantasize about women they saw in their normal lives. For some of them that would mean that they never saw a "really attractive" woman. Somehow I very much doubt that they felt they were missing out, or that their masturbatory activities suffered for it.

I'm envy those girls their confidence. I don't know if I'll ever be that confident-- I'm always vulnerable to jackasses like this, have been ever since the first "fatty, fatty, two-by-four" chant. I don't know if I could go on a billboard-- oh, I could pose for it, all right, and I'd toss my hair and have a whale of a time, but looking at the proofs? having to agree to have people see photographic evidence? Oh, man, that's where I'd lose it completely. I'd feel like I'd been caught pretending to be something I'm not.

I know, I know. Even after going-on-two-years, I still catch myself feeling like that-- like I'm faking it, like some great official judge is going to come by and say, "You're guilty of acting like a skinny girl; go home and don't come out until you're properly swathed in eight layers of drapy clothing." I know. I'm trying.

I do know that I'm sexy-- I know that that sort of thing isn't about what's on your ass, it's about what's in your eyes and what's lurking in your smile, it's about how you move and what you know. A friend of mine once told me that sexy is eye contact and a sly little smile when you're projecting the thought, "Why don't you take me home and fuck me?" Honestly, I've never seen anything to prove that wrong, male or female. That's why we have the phrase "bedroom eyes", not "bedroom ass". It's all in what you project. It's all in the attitude. The rest of the stuff is just an excuse.

I'm still so mad. There's nothing you can do with this sort of people except to hold your head high and live in spite of them, because the petty little shits will never be convinced to change their minds. That's how you can tell a prejudice from a thought-out opinion: a prejudice pulls out whatever excuse is handy and doesn't care if it makes sense, if it's proven to be complete bullshit, or even if goes along with the excuse used the day before; a well-thought-out opinion is constant, based in logic, and if it's proven wrong, the person holding it will adjust the opinion accordingly.

These are not thought-out opinions that these men are spouting. These are prejudices. Fuck 'em.


  • I had an epiphany several months ago. I don't agree with it, you don't agree with it, but most men, and society in general, think this on one level or another.

    If a woman isn't worth fucking, she isn't worth anything.

    I'm newly 36 and I'm so very tired of this shit. I've been told by countless WOMEN how "beautiful" I am, but almost never by a man. Not even my dad. I couldn't tell you how many hours I spent looking in the mirror when I was younger trying to determine whether I was pretty, whether I was good enough, and knowing that even I was pretty, I was fat and that nullified anything else. The best I could hope for was a neutral, inoffensive presence. I am invisible because I am fat; soon I will be invisible because I'm old too.

    However, there is a perverse freedom in knowing you've been thrown away. You don't have to worry about having to please people all the damn time. What would be the point?

    This is a bummer post and sorry about that. I enjoy your blog. Thanks for writing it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:43 PM  

  • I couldn't agree more. Whether a person is just not "pretty" enough, or if they're "fat" shouldn't have any effect on how people treat them or talk about them, but it absolutely does. It is crazy how much objectification and how many subliminal messages are sent to women (and men!) from what seems like simple advertising. Good post, I'm totally with you.

    By Anonymous Laura, at 9:51 PM  

  • I could only see these ads online, and I was so shocked and appalled by all the horrible comments made about these ads. It’s really disturbing to see women [as you said] who are in no way fat, being branded that. I didn’t realise how skewed the world sees beauty and it’s sad.

    You are so right about the whole body types and where we have muscle and curves and all that. I could never had put it so eloquently as you have, but I just wanted to add my 2cents.

    Thanx for sharing this Meg.

    By Blogger Dee, at 11:55 PM  

  • I was thinking the exact same thing, after seeing all these articles on the web a couple weeks ago. This (mostly male, from what I could see) entitlement demanding that yes, even ads not targetted at them be made to please them was, frankly, mind-boggling. And we wonder why there are so many people suffering eating disorders, when the media and certain people make us so clearly feel that if we're not 5'11" and a size 2, then we're not worth anything, we're not worth existing, and we should just shut up, hide in shame, and be grateful at the few crumbs of (wrong) attention that "the higher people" (them mighty columnists, I suppose?) daign throw behind themselves when they pass us out.

    Well, fuck.

    I was mulling a similar thought the other day--not about the Dove ads, but about how it's so frigging hard to not feel "guilty" when eating some stupid croissant in a café if you're overweight, because you *know* that so many people will immediately think "she's eating that, must be why she's fat". We don't even have this freedom without feeling judged--and judged we are, after all, since so many people are influenced by the media enhancing thin women vs. fat, lazy, pigging-out asses (sorry for the wording, but hey, in essence, it's that). Seriously, what kind of skewed perception has hit our world? A perception where the only accepted beauty means looking like a skeleton with some skin on, and anyone different must just suck it up, grit their teeth and forever remain in the shadows?


    By Anonymous Kery, at 1:47 AM  

  • I'm sorry, but the men who criticize the attractiveness of those women are sexually disfunctional, whether they want to admit it or not. The models are still smaller and more firm and less rolly polly then most American women, AND PRETTY, I can't imagine what there is to find not attractive about them. Christ forbid a real plus sized women's ad came out, their dicks would just shrivel up. A huge loss for the future of mankind.

    By Blogger seraphish, at 5:42 AM  

  • The thing that struck me about these ads and the commentary on them, is that I have NEVER understood why men (some men) feel it necessary, desirable, or allowable to criticize and ridicule women they don't want to sleep with. If you don't think I look good, then DON'T STARE AT ME. If I don't appeal to you sexually, then DON'T TRY TO FUCK ME. I mean... fine, you know? Why does there have to be the cruelty and public humiliation? It's not such an issue in my life now at 44, but I remember all too many horrible incidents when I was younger. Males have to endure some painful rejections socially, being the ones who generally do the asking, but few of them have to endure a group of women shouting ugly, pornographic insults at them in public, simply for the crime of happening to walk by.

    I don't know if this phenomenon is specific to America, to western culture, to the 20/21st centuries, or whether it's worldwide, but it really is disturbing. There's a deep misogyny here that goes beyond issues of mere beauty or sexual attractiveness. It's always frustrated me hearing the younger generation of women say that feminism is outdated, unneeded, crazy, or what have you - but THIS is exactly what it was for. That women should not be judged, identified, and valued according to their bodies and their bodies' role in the world. Obviously, we still have great need for those ideas. Every time I see a scantily-clad girl on TV (without an accompanying scantily-clad boy) I cringe. It's not a matter of prudery, it's the imbalance of it. Where is the eye candy for us girls? The advertisers are telling us, point-blank, "WE DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU. The world is for MEN, and you are a little treat to be given them, not a person in your own right."

    I was really happy with something Brent said in his comment on your previous post - about "every normal guy on the planet will think these are cute girls" That's the crux of the matter and it deserves publicity and research and television specials. Just on a "biological" level, just in terms of species survival and animal instinct, much less considering human intellect and emotion, it simply cannot be normal or healthy for the males of a species to find the vast majority of the females repulsive. There's something very wrong here.

    By Blogger M@rla, at 6:06 AM  

  • This reminds me of a guy I knew years ago. He'd constantly sit in front of the tv passing a running commentary on the sexual attractiveness of each woman on the screen - either a "do me, baby" or "get off my tv, you fat pig". Yeah, a real charmer.

    And was this guy passing judgement from his own position of physical perfection? Hell no. He was seriously overweight and the ugliness was external as well as internal.

    I dunno, maybe this was the only situation in his life where he could be the "chooser", where he could be the one doing the rejecting, but his whole outlook was seriously screwed up.

    I'd like to think he's an exception amongst men although sometimes I wonder.

    By Blogger kathrynoh, at 5:30 PM  

  • Ladies, pleas understand. We are not all horrible. The language you guys throw around is a little risque, but I'll throw this in. Attitude is far more important than size. Looks are subjective, so I cant go there. Size on the other hand has alot to do with the way you present it. Rail thin, small chest, tiny everthing can only be fun for a period of time. Take a larger woman, and there is a lot to explore. If 1/2 of 1% of America's women are modelesque, give me the other 99.5 %. I'll get over the size !!!! More for me baby. Some men suck, some men dont. Same works the other way too.

    By Blogger Allan, at 7:57 PM  

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