Tag Archives: emails

Today I Displaced My Rage Onto a Line of Hair Care Products

7 May

So my mom, knowing my tendency to get angry about things, saved me a super stupid advertisement for the got2be line of hair care products.  Due to recent events that I don’t feel like going into just at the moment, I felt the need to blow off some steam and so I wrote a letter.  Here it is:

To whom it may concern,

I am currently standing at my kitchen counter, looking at a two-page coupon/advertisement for your got2b line of hair products, a line I have used many times. On the left hand side, is the advertisement geared towards women; on the right is that for men. I would like to describe to you, in more detail, what I am seeing.

The advertisement for women is, of course, done in pink and features an overly made-up young woman in a low cut gold halter dress looking suggestively at the camera with her lips slightly parted. In the back, super imposed upon an imagine that I can only imagine is an attempt to associate your product with Hollywood and all of its glitz and glamour, is a dapper man standing in front of a parked limousine, looking at the girl. The tagline – “all eyes on you!” – is meant to promote the three products that hold down the bottom right hand corner of the ad. They are the “Body + Gloss” line of hair products and include the “glistening full blow dry cream,” the “radiance bounce whipped mousse,” and finally the “luminous lift hairspray.” That the bottles are also pink and adorned with stars and sparkles (what woman or girl doesn’t want that?!) is really just the icing on the cake.

On the right hand side of the page is the advertisement for the men’s products, done mostly in yellow. It features a young man with a tall mohawk, the sides of his head shaven, looking like he’s just gotten into some trouble, and indeed he has. The three photographs in the ad are in succession and show him doing a front flip off of a high, graffiti-covered stone wall, only to land on the ground of some east coast city smiling, not a hair out of place. He wears jeans and a grey t-shirt. What allows his hair to stay in place with all this hardcore fun he is having? It’s the “his” line of hair care products like “blasting freeze spray” and the “ultra glued invisible styling gel.” They have the power of, as you call it, “screaming hold.”

The problem with these two different advertisements goes beyond the color of the pages, the names of the products and the styling of the models. What you are selling to young men and women is the idea that men are active and independent and that women are passive and dependent on the approval of men. You are telling young people that men’s hair should be able to withstand a front flip and women’s should be able to impress and, more dangerously, still look good after what is inevitably going to happen once she gets inside that waiting car. You are playing, and not at all subtly, with deeply entrenched gender stereotypes that are not only damaging to the young women and girls that see them everyday but also to the men and boys. You are simultaneously telling women that they should wait for men but also men that they should expect to be waited for. You are telling women that their value comes from their level of sexual appeal but also men that they should only view women through that lens. On the other hand, you are telling men that they are should be more macho, more daring, more athletic and women that this is what they should be looking for in a prospective partner or, more in keeping with this ad, in a date to a party. You are telling impressionable young people that if they don’t fit within this narrow gender framework then they are unattractive and weird.

This might seem a strange bone to pick and, perhaps, if this advertisement was the only of its kind it would not be quite so alarming to me. The reality, however, is that this is only one example of the many ads and images put out by hundreds of companies annually that further reinforce our closed-minded and dangerous ideas of the correct roles of men and women. People don’t just look at these ads and move on, they internalize them and remember them and you know that, that is what you are counting on to sell your products. Don’t be another company that benefits off of the objectification of women and men.

Sincerely

Rebekah Frank

I then received the following lame ass response that made me even more annoyed.  Not only did this person spell the word “research” incorrectly, they also did not sign their note with an actual name which, had it not been for the obvious type-o, would have led me to believe the person responding to me was not a person at all but instead was a robot.  That being said, my well-argued message was clearly thrown in the email garbage.  Anyway, here is the response:

Dear Ms. Frank,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Your comments are appreciated because they help us to understand how we can better serve our consumers.

We appreciate your feedback. We will forward it to our Marketing and Reaserch & Development Team.

Again, thank you for contacting us.

Sincerely,

Henkel Consumer Affairs

I will not be buying anything from this company (not that I really did before anyway) but I will also mean mug their products as I ever-so-slowly pass them by in the aisle at the pharmacy.  Feel my rage, Henkel.

My Final Post

31 Dec

In 2013!  I got you there, didn’t I?  You thought this was my last post ever.  PSYCH!  Ha.  Okay.  Moving on.  Seeing as how this is the very last day in 2013, I thought maybe I would try to squeeze in one last blog post.  So, here it goes.

On my way to work yesterday, and having recently turned 30, I was thinking about all the things my also recently-turned-30 friends have been posting about being 30.  Like, how to know you’re 30.  Why your 30s are better than your 20s.  And things to stop saying in your 30s.  Sorry I didn’t link them all but after skimming through half a dozen such lists my eyes glazed over and I sort of just wanted to melt into a metallic puddle sort of like Alex Mack did on that show.  Come to think of it, I often fantasize about melting into a metallic puddle and sneaking out of, and into, places but that’s a story for another day.  So here are a few things. First of all, and maybe it’s because I wasn’t an avid social media user when I turned 20, I don’t ever remember there being lists about the things one should and should not do and say and think when maturing from teen to after teen.  Second of all, shut up.  I don’t know who made these people the authorities on the ways people should behave when they reach a certain age but I would like to see some credentials.  I would then like to take those supposed credentials, rip them up, throw them on the ground, and jump on them sort of like the bubble wrap my friend Carie and I discovered on a street corner a few years back.  There we were, two adults, one in her 30s, jumping up and down like lunatics on a giant sheet of bubble wrap, giggling and generally causing a scene.  We were, as some may say, acting “totes cray” and it was fantastic.  In fact, I wouldn’t mind jumping on a sheet of bubble wrap right about now.  Anyway, back to the list.  I agree with my friend Peter who, on a Facebook post mere hours after I was initially thinking about writing this post (get out of my HEAD, Peter!) said the following (much better than I ever could, mind you):

“There’s an article on Huffington Post about things you should not be saying once you’re over the age of 30. And I just thought, who is this punk to tell people what they should say and shouldn’t say? There are all these ways that people tell each other that they’re not good enough, that they’re unknowingly foolish and our minds get filled up with these corrections. Don’t write about this subject. This is how you ought to be. Don’t do this, don’t wear that hat, quit posting this, it’s too long, it’s too political…so for this New Year, my first resolution and wish for all of us is that we banish these little voices that seek to gain power or status over the “foolish masses” by shaming us for innocuous habits.”

Granted, there are things that people say that I don’t like.  It has nothing to do with age or anything, I just think these things are cliche, sound stupid, or make basically no sense.  But you know what?  I personally just don’t say them.* Anyway, I don’t know.  I am 30 and I sometimes say stupid things.  I also still have stuffed animals on my bed, do not own an iron, have no professional clothing, and sometimes I even eat junk food in the middle of the night (apparently all no-nos according to the internet).  I think I am still doing okay.  I also think that I shouldn’t just wake up one morning and be like “oh, I have turned this entirely arbitrary age and now I have to start behaving like An Adult.”  Whatever.  I like behaving like me.  So, I have compiled a list of things that people should stop doing altogether, no matter the age (this is in no particular order):

1. Stop making lists telling people what they should and should not do.

Oh, well, I guess according to my own list the list should just stop there.  That was a close one.  I just totally almost made a complete fool of myself.  But seriously.  I love The Internet just as much as the next person who enjoys cat videos, but I am oftentimes shocked by the things that go viral.  So that list, which obviously originated on Huffpost Women because shaming women is like a national pastime, must have been posted by like a dozen of my Facebook friends.  And I just kind of think that maybe there are other things that people should refrain from saying in casual conversation at all ages.  You know, things that hurt other people.  Things like saying something is “gay” or “retarded.”  Making jokes about rape.  Calling someone a whore or a fatass or a faggot.  Using racial epithets.  I don’t know, words like “adorbs” seem comparatively harmless.

So, anyway, that is all from me in 2013.  Thank you everyone for reading.  It was a banner year!  And I think next year will be even bannerier!  I’m looking forward to it.  Good things are coming down the pipeline for me.  And maybe for you.  Who knows.  In summation, this coming year I hope to write more, be nicer to people who are nice to me and meaner to people who aren’t, and check my email more often.  Try sending me an email sometime in mid-2014 and see what happens.  Hopefully something.

*Okay, fine, there was a recent time when I posted on a friend’s page my annoyance with the phrase “says nobody ever” but I didn’t write a post about it.  And I also don’t judge people for saying it.  I just think it is dumb, not funny and overused. But keep right on saying it if it strikes your fancy!