This is Jewel’s new video for her song “Stronger Woman.” I can’t figure out if Jewel thinks that all women are essentially the same (in the sense that we need to throw off patriarchy) or that contemporary American women are superior (and all women, then and now, should aspire to be like us… oh yeah, and by “us” I mean young, gorgeous, thin, white, blonde women who “love” themselves). In either case, I don’t like it:
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Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
I saw this energy drink this morning at a gas station. Notice that it’s sugar-free. According to the website, a portion of proceeds goes to fight breast cancer, though it’s unclear if they mean a portion of the profits of the drink, or just things bought at the online store. Another example of the idea of doing good through consumption, not by just donating money directly to an organization addressing an issue you care about (for other examples see here, here and here). Also, the website says Go Girl is not a rehydration drink (such as Gatorade), but a “functional beverage,” whatever that is.
This ad “liberates” women from the kitchen through technology and capitalism… but not, alas, through true partnerships with men. Women should spend less time cooking, but it’s still HER job.
Oh, also, the reason women haven’t achieved greatness in the United States is because she’s too busy to be bothered. It has absolutely nothing to do with sexism and institutional constraints.
Thanks to Julie C!
This ad, from the 1970s (I think), has the exact same message: “For women with more exciting things to do than scrub floors: ‘One-step floor care.'” Congratulations women, now you can scrub floors faster… but don’t think you can get out of scrubbing floors.
Found at Vintage Ads.
And this one, from the 1950s (I think) is extra creepy (found here). Like the other ads, it replaces “women’s work” with a technological solution. And that solution a gift from her husband. The text:
The one gift that quietly ends garbage ‘trudgery’ — frees the little woman from disagreeable trips to the garbage can… She’ll thank you every time she uses it…
“The new women’s movement. Freedom from seams and stitches.”
This is another ad Lisa sent me years ago. I use it when discussing the de-politicization of social issues, and the commodification of freedom–it’s just something you buy. I also use this one from Lisa:
The Jeep Liberty–notice on the right it says “Glass Ceiling” and has an arrow pointing down below; so structural inequality at work is trivialized, and again, “liberty” is something we can purchase.
Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.
I use these, along with some of the “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” Virginia Slims ads, to show how “women’s liberation” is used by advertisers to sell products, as well as to imply that “now” (whenever “now” is) is always better than “then” (some indeterminate point in the past) and that the struggle for equality and freedom is over.