Sunday 8 December 2019

Sorry Veet, your ads are insulting, rude and nothing to do with women

Orla Tinsley

Veet, the US manufacturer of hair removal products, have unleashed a new level of misogyny in their latest advertisements.

The TV ads which were first shown two days ago on US television have garnered a slew of complaints on their Facebook page and across the internet. They seem to be suggesting that without the almighty Veet product to guide us, women, with our less than smooth legs and prickly armpits will in fact turn into men. Let that sink in for a second.

Now, let's count the rest of the deeply problematic depictions going on here.

It's early morning and a man wakes up on a whiter than white duvet as his partner wraps their leg around him. The man slides his hand reaches back to find, horror of horror, hair! Not just any old hair, turning to look back as his partner the man finds that his companion is in fact a man. The caption reads 'Don't Risk Dudeness'.

Firstly, what is dudeness? Newsflash Dude, the word 'dude' itself is now pretty much a term used for both men and women by both men and women. Major fail there, Veet. But we'll take it you mean some misogynistically driven, narrow minded idea of gender construction. Now that that's clear, let's talk about the alarming hint of homophobia and transphobia going on.

 

After the hairy alarm is raised the suggestion becomes that it is two men in a bed together that is in fact a nightmare. That anything other than a conservative perception of gender identity or sexual identity – including hair - would cause your partner to leave. We suddenly live in some 1950's throwback era and also some sort of gender marker panic machine has been made that can be pressed by the hysterical advertisement devisers at hair removal HQ if you're failing at womanhood.

 

Because according to Veet the slightest sign of stubble demonstrates your lack of commitment there ladies. The usually irritatingly light handed woman shaming that hair removal advertisements court unfortunately feels mild in comparison to this full on moronic series of advertisements. They are insulting, rude and have nothing to do with women.

 

Some lessons for Veet : shockingly, both women and men have hair. And by the way some women have so little hair they choose not to shave. Others have thick hair, curly hair, flat hair .. I could go on. They keep it or they remove it and will remain to do so as much or as little as they like. Whether it's on our legs, our arms or other parts of the body. Men also have hair, shockingly. Some choose to be hairy, some smooth, some ruggedly in between. Hair is a normal indicator of a healthy developing human being. One would wonder if whoever came up with these advertisements has ever met an actual woman.

 

In another of their advertisements a woman, who is being played by a male actor, finds herself in a neck brace at an A and E department where a nurse needs to examine her leg. A female actor takes his place for a mere moment until the nurse rips open the lower part of the trouser to find a fuzzy bed in hiding. 'I shaved yesterday', the now male actor says.

He sits in his manufactured shame as society just can't bear to bare such imperfection is the not so subtle implication. I'm sure this would be any persons main concern while lying in a neck brace. My perfectly functioning legs and their hair fuzz, they are truly the worst. 'Don't Risk Dudeness' pops up again even more stomach churning than the first time.

This crass representation of tiresome stereotypes is massively offensive and the backlash has already started as people in their thousands have been lambasting the company on their Facebook page and across the media. Pitching a product from a place of ancient prescribed gender roles and reducing women to incapable, anxious bystanders who think only of their appearance is not just insulting to women but also to men. Both of which will most likely bypass the Veet section in the supermarket from now on. 

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