Kristin W., Brad W., and Deb G. sent us the Bacardi Breezers “Get an Ugly Girlfriend” ad campaign, discussed over at Jezebel. The message? Ladies, if you want to look better, get an ugly female friend to stand next to:

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There are profiles of the various ugly girlfriends you can get:

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Of course this ad campaign suggests to women that the most important thing about them is how they look. But, more insidiously, as Sweet Machine points out, it places women “in competition with other women for male attention” in a world where “self-esteem is a zero-sum game.”

This is how patriarchy creates in-fighting among women: If men have the power, and the only way to get power is to get men, then women feel compelled to try to get (the attention of) a man (or men).  Other women are their competition.

Women are stereotyped as bitchy and catty as if it is an inherent feature of femininity when, in fact, women’s subordination to men creates the conditions that force them into competition.

We see it happen live in this horrendous clip from Battle of the Bods.

More examples of cultural endorsements of the idea that women and girls are always in competition with one another here, here, and here.

UPDATE: Commenter Joanne pointed out an update, via Shapely Prose:

Sean-Patrick Hillman of bacardi.com comments below:

June 21, 2009

Thank you for taking the time to post your story regarding Bacardi Breezer.

The campaign you are referring to ran in 2008 for two months in Israel. Even though Bacardi Breezer is not sold or distributed in the United States, we immediately notified the appropriate Bacardi affiliate and had this website shut down.

Bacardi proudly celebrates diversity and we do not endorse the views of this site.

We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by this site and thank you for bringing it to our attention.

I’m a bit confused, though–I did a quick google search, and Bacardi Breezer seems to be sold in a lot of places, including Canada and the U.S., but maybe they’re imported by a third party and not directly by Bacardi? I know I’d heard the name Bacardi Breezer before I saw these ads. Apparently I’m going to have to go on a tour of local liquor stores to see. What a horrible life I lead.

And I also agree with several of the other commenters–how awful must it be to be cast as an ”ugly” person?

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