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.