What do you think? Is it ok to tell women to shave or risk “dudeness”?
“Ignorant”, “Sexist”, “Insulting”, “Shaming women”, “Homophobic” say both men and women on hair removal brand Veet’s facebook page.
After a week of shocked comments about the company encouraging stereotypical gender constructs to sell more products, Veet eventually pulls its ad, only broadcasted in the US. It can still be seen online though.
The advert was angrily received by many viewers for showing a man waking up next to his lover, who has been transformed into a man after not waxing. Another clip shows a woman hailing a taxi, which then refuses to take her because forgetting to shave has—surprise surprise—suddenly transformed her into a man.
It concludes with the warning don’t risk dudeness and informs women that wax strips could help them feel womanly around the clock. Shaming women and measuring masculinity by body hair is basically Veet’s work of art in these commercials. They sicken me. What about you?
A spokesperson for Veet in the UK said the US advert has not been aired outside of America and has been well received by most. “This is a US advertisement, and has only been aired in North America. In the UK our marketing focus is quite different,” a spokesperson said.
“While the current advertising campaign for Veet running in the USA has been well received by most consumers who appreciate its wacky, tongue in cheek humour, it has also provoked a great deal of comment. We take our responsibilities very seriously and the ad was carefully reviewed before it aired.
However we are very concerned by any misinterpretation of its tone or meaning, and in the light of the feedback received we have decided to withdraw it. We would also like to apologise for any offense it may have caused. That was certainly not our intention.”
Some other media companies weigh in:
“In the time it took you to read that last paragraph, your legs got a fraction of an inch hairier, and you lost the name of Woman” wrote Alexandra Petri in the Washington Post.
“The implication of this (A Man Doesn’t Wake Up In A Bed Where There Is Another Man Unless There Has Been A Horrible Mistake) is more than a bit homophobic” wrote Kate Dries on Jezebel.
Ben Hopper‘s work deserves a dedicated post for his work in photography. Please check out his photos of his last published project called “Natural Beauty”.
Hopper asked models and actresses to grow out their body hair and challenge the idea that hairy women are in any way unattractive or unhygienic.
As Hopper explains on his website, “Although armpit hair is a natural state it has become a statement. Why is that? For almost a century we have been brainwashed by the beauty industry, encouraging hair removal. By creating a contrast between common ‘fashionable’ female beauty and the raw unconventional look of female armpit hair thoughts are intrigued and a discussion is made.”
Indeed, centerfold and beauty photos from before 1915 often display plenty of body hair. After the first women’s shaving campaign in the 1910s, the industry took off and hasn’t looked back since. Along with their new line of feminine hygiene products cam countless ads convincing women that armpit hair was unhygienic and unattractive. This is for you, Veet.
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