This is the second in a three-part series about women and advertising.
A commercial for the facial-hair cream Vaniqa depicts a woman getting ready in front of the mirror. She spots a facial hair (which is not visible to the naked eye), and looks away with a hopeless, dejected look on her face. As the female narrator says, “When I spot facial hair…”, the woman in the commercial turns to the camera and says, with a male voice, “This is how I feel; manly, unfeminine.” In her own voice, the hopelessly dejected woman states, “Now I don’t even want to go out.” Apparently, facial hair is not only extremely unfeminine, but like any other part or characteristic of women’s bodies, it is tremendously embarrassing and unattractive. The commercial spends another minute and a half describing how Vaniqa can help women overcome their manly traits and feel good about themselves again. The female dermatologist can help: “Women don’t talk about this problem with anyone, but they do talk to me about how powerless and unhappy they feel. I recommend Vaniqa.” The commercial ends with the statement, “free yourself from the constant worry and maintenance of unwanted facial hair.”
The thing is, we all have some sort of body issue, and at times we do feel insecure and unattractive. The point is not that women should not use these products; it is the message that is frustrating. That message is: You are never good enough, and you never will be. Instead, you should feel so intensely bad about yourself that you will use our products.