This isn't about women who shave their legs. This isn't about women who choose not to. This isn't even really about companies using shame as a marketing tool. This is about commercials that don't make a damn bit of sense.
Nearly every shaving ad includes a few-second clip of a pretty (white) woman taking a bath in a cloud of bubbles. Razor in hand, she reaches out to shave... A flawless, silky smooth leg.
This soon-to-be-sheared appendage sure looks about as hairless as a baby bird before the model goes at it with the razor she's ostensibly meant to promote. This brings up a few questions:
- Why are these women shaving shaved legs?
- Did they forget they'd already done that one?
- Had they all actually bleached their leg hair in some sort of bizarre, pre-shaving ritual?
- Are people so disgusted by a light dusting of hair on a lady that they'd avoid all hint of stubble in a television advertisement in order to portray a weird nirvana where body hair doesn't grow?
Honestly, it would be much more impressive to see Ultron Razor 2000 taking on a full-on pelt and come away intact. We never see these products truthfully in action on TV. Are we all so collectively afraid of women's body hair? Or does there not yet exist a women's razor good enough to take on a whole winter's worth of fuzz? Or both?
Regardless, it's especially baffling when you consider how advertising has never shied away from a juicy before-and-after shot. Think wrinkle creams, acne wash, weight loss programs and whitening toothpaste. First: Your body's natural ugliness. Then: Product X makes it beautiful! Find Product X in your local store.
Beauty and personal hygiene advertisements thrive on reminding consumers of their bodies' many supposed flaws. That leg hair isn't shown suggests it's too grotesque for audiences, similar to the way sanitary pad commercials illustrate period blood with some biologically impossible blue liquid instead of a more accurate -- but probably stomach-churning -- red. The thing is, we're not talking medical-drama-level gore here.
The closest thing we usually get to reality is an animation demonstrating how the product's features -- another blade, swiveling ability, a pink handle -- help you manage the task of shaving. An iron-grey blade mechanically shears off a few perky cartoon follicles, abstractly illustrating a scenario in which female legs sprouted hair.
Men's razor commercials do not concern themselves with any such hairless fantasy. And so -- brushing aside the fact that marketing razors "for men" or "for women" is on par with marketing pens "for men" or "for women" -- men are sold razors that are shown to perform the task they're built for.
It should be noted that plenty of commercials skirt the issue completely by pre-lathering models with shaving cream. So, even if it were present, the undesirable body hair is covered up. That may also save time, but it still wonderfully fails to show us the things are actually good at de-hair-ifying us.
Should we act now to stop razor makers from spreading egregious falsehoods about the female body? Maybe. No. Probably not. It doesn't exactly matter a whole lot -- mostly it's just dumb, and sad, like pens for women. Soon we'll all be too busy shaving our faces to trouble our lady brains about these things, anyhow.
Note: The featured image on this post is taken from an actual, batshit commercial for Schick razors.
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