Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Blurred lines

Arguably feminism's greatest victory is that it seems so unfashionable and embarrassing to be labelled a feminist. Adverts and pop culture in many ways set the aspirational blueprint, and makeup often becomes a tool by which to embolden the image. In the iconic Robert Palmer video, the women are stoic; their makeup is uniform smokey eyes and red lips. Yet their black turtle necks and guitars subvert the robbing of individuality and give them back their strength. In Robin Thicke's recent Blurred Lines video, the red lipstick remains - but the women are stripped whilst the men are fully suited. Robin Thicke looks a lot older than the models, and very slimy. It is undoubtedly grossly insulting (there is no irony) yet the jaunty lyrics make light of the spectacle. Check out this FT article for an interesting discussion. I've spoken before about how being jokey about being seductive is the new feminism, and the recent furore over Miley Cyrus desperately trying to look appealing is further entrenching this. Apparently red lipstick is the essential ingredient... how sad.

Benefit recently shared their advert for 'They're Real' mascara by trying to translate the objectification. This failed miserably. Ultimately, men and women are completely different and seeing men groping their bulging trousers is usually at best pathetic and creepy... But Benefit slathers on the 'it's a funny joke, lighten up!' patter. However, many wrongs go unchallenged by masquerading as light-hearted jibes. Well, it might all be forgiveable if the jokes were funny?!

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