Veet’s “Don’t Risk Dudeness” campaign comes from a simple, yet problematic concept: a woman who exhibits even the slightest amount of body hair is no longer viewed as a woman, but transforms into a (seemingly undesirable) man. We take several issues with this. First and foremost, having body hair is the natural state of most bodies. Choosing to remove it or not is a personal decision and, frankly, not a definitive one. You are so much more than the state of your body hair. Along those lines, femininity is not defined as the absence of said body hair. Women-identified folks grow hair all sorts of places. Remember this fierce Sikh rocking her beard? We love her! The way others perceive you does not define who you are and you can be a fabulous femme no matter what choice you’re making regarding your body hair. Moreover, we feel for the dude in this campaign. What does it tell him, and people who look like him, when this product is being sold to avoid being perceived as one of them? This campaign took messaging policing women’s bodies and included a jab making this man appear unappealing. Ouch.
So, the campaign came out, and it was offensive, and people reacted. The Representation Project launched a Twitter response under the hashtag #NotBuyingIt that got thousands of responses. Folks commented on the sexism, homophobia, racism, transphobia, and general shaming quality of these ads. Veet took notice- they removed the campaign and issued an apology.
We devote Mondays on this blog to analyzing images and messages in the media and stories like this show why we do what we do. Having these conversations makes a difference. We envision a world with new media that is body positive and promotes a healthy relationship with food. You can be a catalyst for making this difference.
Have you seen something in the media that you’d like to respond to- good, bad, or maybe just thought provoking? Want to contribute to Media Mondays? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
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