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Today's been weird.

I received a mail from Lauren LaCapra (Washington post writer) asking me if I'd be up for an interview concerning the ad campaign of the Yorkie candy bar.

The reason she contact me was this post where I vaguely reference the "not for girls" Yorkie candy bar campaign. She felt that I might have a "unique perspective" on the issue. I wonder if it's the fact that I titled the page "one angry cunt". I'm not going to do the interview. Because, really, it wasn't about Yorkie - it was about reactionaries who parade as feminists.

Being in the US means that we don't get commercials for Yorkie. I have had Yorkie bars - but they've been things I've picked up on whim just like Flake and Echo and such from a store here that sells imported candies. Hell - that's the only reason I know about Ritter Sport bars. And I always just thought that the Yorkie campaign was very tongue in cheek. That is was targeted toward *boys* who already think girls aren't allowed in their tree houses and that they have cooties. I didn't realize that there was an entire ad campaign basically built around the assumption that women had "stolen" the whole "eating chocolate" thing from men. I found a good LEVEL HEADED perspective from a feminist blog based in UK. They take the time to describe the commercials for both Yorkie and Echo. Apparently the UK marketing campaigns for sweets are centered on the concept that women are the sole consumers of chocolate and that you're really bucking the trend if you're a guy eating chocolate. You're some sort of freedom fighter. Because I live in the US - I've never encountered these ads. So I completely understand and to a point agree with the perspective of Catherine Redfern at The F-Word.

First - I understand that the company that made these ads is a pretty large company set on creating full on market strategies. And this was obviously a company that knew how far they could push it without actually damaging the brand. They caused controvery and got people talking. They did their job. My overall disdain for marketing people and the "values" they have makes it very easy to put this ad campaign into the pile of other horrendous things done in the name of making people look twice at any costs.

I also think that you have to remember that - while our commercials and our television and our society needs to progress overall to a place beyond the basest of stereotypes - marketing will always target the basest of stereotypes. Shampoo for women is "orgasmic". Beer is for men and men like to think that drinking beer with the guys is a great opportunity to meet and be loved by "hot chicks". Is it good or fair? No. But to expect it to change in some whirlwind of conscience is asking too much. Hell - apparently the point of female commentators in Football is get women involved. Because the only way I can possibly enjoy football is if there's another female on the screen. It's ridiculous, incorrect, and unfortunately - not going to change any time soon.

My problem with the oneangrygirl site was that her boycotts were listed without real reason or thought. She listed them because they were things that she felt she and other should be offended by. Not that they were something that people should actively try to CHANGE - but that they should be OFFENDED. I realize the site is oneANGRYgirl - but I didn't see a lot of anger. I just saw a lot of blame. Her shirts are a great example. They're vaguely (read: poorly done) inflammatory comments of vague pro-female persuasion. "Not intended for decorative use" (on a pink t-shirt). "Porn Destroys Women" (there's a lot of debate about that, even in the feminist community and I'm sure many third wavers would disagree with her). The super ironic "Individual not for sale" on a t shirt she mass manufactures and sells online. There are statements there that I think are good too though - points on ignoring celebrity, points on body acceptance. But the overall push of her site is "I'm angry, buy some shirts".

Women shoot themselves in the foot. We're stuck in a terrible place where it's unclear what "being a woman" is supposed to be except the fact that the stereotypes about womanhood fit almost none of us completely. Which only goes to prove that they're STEREOTYPES. Vague generalizations used to categorize. They aren't fitting descriptions and they certainly aren't accurate. The thing is - the stereotypes about men don't fit either. And it's very very rare that I see women admit or even agree to that. Where did the idea that women are complex and hard to categorize but men collectively are every bit the burping Neanderthal stand up comics and poorly written, cheap laugh sit-coms describe them as? I wish that feminists could manage to be real people more often and caricatures less often. What's so wrong with being flawed and being a little bit of this, a little bit of that? Is it a feeling of powerlessness in the first place that leads many self-declared feminists to completely adopt the "feminist" ideals whole hog?

Anyway - I find it difficult to discuss these things with actual feminist groups because they get very angry or don't really answer the questions I want answered - preferring to repeat things at me like I'm a helmet wearing drooling moron. I also have a really bad habit of getting annoyed and pushing buttons on purpose. On the other hand I also find it difficult to put these questions to rest without actually discussing them. So I'll probably keep talking about this.

I won't do that interview because I feel like I spouted off without actually being sure what I was referring to. But also because I'm ambivalent about the blame, the cause, and the intent. And I'm not reactionary enough to just stick by something I ranted off without a lot of thought in a journal. Without all the information (which I feel I have more of now) I couldn't possibly have had a meaningful opinion on the topic.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 10th, 2006 08:49 pm (UTC)
And apparently "ambivelant" about using spellcheck, too...
Since when does being informed have anything to do with having a meaningful, unequivocal opinion on a topic?

I appreciate you expressing your views on gender-based stereotypes because, while i usually come to the same conclusion as yours upon reflection, i often find that i've been socially programmed to initially interpret these stereotypes from the "feminists'" POV, reflexively, and then have to adjust to my actual opinions from there. It's not that i ever get offended, even reflexively...it's more that i'd prefer my instincts to more closely match my rational beliefs. It's faster that way.

Having those rational beliefs reinforced by others expressing similar thoughts might allow that to happen.

Plus, maddening taking advantage of public fora may cause others to reconsider their motivations and actual beliefs for the betterment of all.
Nov. 10th, 2006 09:16 pm (UTC)
Re: And apparently "ambivelant" about using spellcheck, too...
The number one way to my heart is always to make an offhand remark about my spelling. I *always* flip the letters in "recieve" and "because" when I'm typing quickly. And becuase I write 300 + page reports for a living I am a stickler in my professional life for grammatical correctness but in the journal - I tend to allow myself the luxury of just typing what I think without worrying too much about the details. But I know that that sort of thing is taboo if you're being even vaugely serious about a topic. So I fixed the grammatical errors for you.

I popped off at the mouth about something I didn't have all the facts about. Learning more about it - I understand and agree with the viewpoint of women like Catherine Redfern. I still definitely do not agree with the viewpoint of women like the author of oneangrygirl.net. Therefore my opinion isn't actually all that "unique" or "interesting". And it's hardly unequivocal.
Nov. 10th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
I'm Number One!
As for my spelling smartassery, i got lazy coming up with a subject title after struggling with the content of the body of my post. Despite appearances, i don't mind minor grammar/spelling errors unless it's in a post complaining about other people's grammar/spelling errors.

As for "meaningful, unequivocal opinion," that clearly referring to the oneangrygirls of the world and not you. The point of my post was to note that i (and others) derive benefit from reading your approach towards gender stereotypes, for it's a rational voice that's usually neglected.
Nov. 11th, 2006 05:13 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm Number One!
My day was pretty bad yesterday (spent the evening scowling at people) so I was all cranky. And my sarcasm detector was obviously set to "off".

We've discussed your pedantic inclinations before and I know that they aren't really meant in the way that I typically take them. Old ground - should have remembered - didn't mean to snap.

Nov. 30th, 2006 02:20 pm (UTC)
for the record
Not Intended For Decorative Use is not printed on a pink shirt. It's on a light tan crewneck.
Thanks for the advertising!
Nov. 30th, 2006 03:00 pm (UTC)
Re: for the record
You should hire an actual web designer if you're still supporting that site (or at least still making money off it). Your product pages especially are very poorly laid out and could use an overhaul if you want people to actually shop there instead of just scrolling up and down, failing to see an easy way to order, and moving on to another feminist blog with a better shopping mechanism.

I guarantee you that no one who regularly reads this journal is saving up their pennies for bland shirts with "feminist" slogans. Like I said, though - some of your other shirts are actually well stated. And if you're not using cafe press you're probably at least producing a higher quality product, which is always a plus. Good luck with that.

Nov. 11th, 2006 11:53 am (UTC)
Yorkie in the 80s seemed to have an ad campaign revolving around the idea that it was the official chocolate of truck drivers.

Possibly because it used to be so sodding thick girls would break their jaws trying to bite into it. I dunno.
Nov. 11th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC)
I looked up all the various ad campaigns. Apparently the current one is some guy dancing in front of a web cam and ending with "Yorkie: it's a bit different". Because I'm used to American ads (the vast majority of which are based on sex, differences between the sexes, and status) the "not for girls" thing never struck me as all that strange. Plus - like I said - I thought it was being marketed toward little boys who thought girls were icky.

The women writers at the F-word site seemed to have similar issues with the Echo ads which depicted women going crazy and rampaging through the streets due to a lack of chocolate.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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