"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Friday, August 14, 2009

Feeling the Illinoise

I'll be off to Chicago to visit the in-laws through next week, so expect no blogging until next Thursday at the earliest. To fill the void in the meantime, you should be visiting my best friend Katie's blogs (here, here, and here) and clicking on ALL of her pages and ads in order to thank her for surprising me with (drumroll):


Best. Unbirthday present. Ever.

You don't have to update any bookmarks or feeds just yet, since the "unapologeticallyfemale.blogspot.com" address redirects to the new one. I'll let you know if I ever overcome my laziness and make the big switch.

Vintage Ad of the Day

Evidence that the marketers of Axe aren't doing anything new or original:


Text reads:
Brace yourself! She's giving up!

Mennen Skin Bracer has the fragrance that can tame any dame -- even pretty Miss Mennen! It comes on manly... goes on cool, soothing, refreshing. Mennen Skin Bracer is more than just a good fragrance. It's a great feeling. If you want to be right on Target, try Mennen. Mennen's got what women want!

If one more "financial expert" tells me to just cut out my daily latte, I'm going to scream.

I mean, I know Starbucks is popular, but geez. Do they really think everyone in the world goes there every day? I already get by on two, maybe three lattes a year. Does that mean I should be a millionaire?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Problem with "Man Caves"

Since Dan and I have been house-hunting this summer, we've been spending more time than usual lingering on channels like HDTV and the DIY Network, which means that I've been seeing lots of commercials for the DIY show Man Caves:
Guys need an exclusive space to hang out in their homes -- a refuge where they can enjoy what they love, whether it's a soundproofed basement used as a rock 'n' roll lounge and adorned with limited edition guitars; a room where diehard ski fans can chill out with a roaring fireplace and alpine atmosphere; or a lush golf-lover's paradise, featuring a state-of-the-art virtual reality driving range, media center and top-notch equipment storage space. Because DIY Network understands there's an environment for every guy that makes him feel fulfilled, we recruited licensed contractor Jason Cameron and former NFL great Tony "The Goose" Siragusa to offer amazing ideas for the ultimate Man Caves. In each episode of this awesome DIY Network series, Jason and The Goose create a man cave solely for one lucky guy, plus offer ideas and expert do-it-yourself instruction to help homeowners everywhere construct their own personal hangouts.
Here are a couple of tastes of what the show has to offer:

The concept of a man cave in a home is a sexist concept in itself. Born from the "Men are from Mars" school of thought that men need their own special space to flee their nagging mates and decompress by watching sports, playing poker, drinking beer, and smoking cigars, its perceived necessity derives from the traditional notion that the home (and all the work within it) is entirely the woman's domain.

One of the reasons I find this show disappointing is that I'm usually so impressed with how gender-friendly DIY-themed home improvement shows tend to be. Do you ever notice how many of these shows portray female carpenters and contractors and designers doing things that many girls are never socialized or encouraged to learn to do? And they are typically shown with such little fanfare that it sends the message that women doing this work is nothing out of the ordinary at all, and that just about anyone can take on the tasks they demonstrate.

This show, however, reinforces the idea that men and women are separate species or exist on entirely different planets, and that they therefore have different needs, different interests, and different roles to play. It also operates covertly under the assumption that all of this is somehow natural and not a product of our culture and socialization. And even though this type of entertainment is incredibly popular (see the numerous relationship advice books and magazine articles and the countless "Battle of the Sexes"-themed games, quizzes, reality shows), I find it pretty lazy and irresponsible.

Thank you, toymakers. No, really. Thanks a lot.

Little girls everywhere, upon visiting the beach for the first time:
"But my globe taught me the ocean was pink! No fair. I wanna go home and play Barbies!"


Via Feminist Philosphers, who have been on fire lately when it comes to calling out unnecessarily gendered products.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Vintage Ad of the Day

Apparently, the "sexy librarian" look has been popular a lot longer than I thought. Here, it's being used to sell Hanes' stockings:


Text reads:
You can read about women who are unforgettable, disarming, and a not-so-quiet sensation,

or, become one by wearing new MYSTRECE. If you dipped your legs in liquid chiffon, you'd get the fit, the look, the utter cling of MYSTRECE. And for pennies more, you get that Hanes exclusive: No run can grow past the nude heel and demi toe.

Don't ask me what it is about clingy stockings that makes a woman "disarming" or a "sensation", because I don't really get it either.


T Mobile customers apparently don't care what kind of phone servive they use.

All they know is that they find Catherine Zeta Jones wildly attractive. And that's good enough for them.

G4 Special Promotes Gaming Boys Club

I had the supreme misfortune to catch this special on G4 over the weekend and found myself unable to look away from the train wreck. Nothing sends the message that video games are a "Boys Only" club like this shit:

It's not that I mean any disrespect to the women who take these jobs, (if anything, the TV special shows some of the realities of what they really have to put up with at trade shows) but it completely amazes me that the practice of "booth babes" is an accepted and encouraged part of the video game industry. The fact that marketers can so overtly and unabashedly use women's bodies to promote and sell their products to men who surely know that most of these women have little to no interest in gaming or in talking to and taking pictures with them just doesn't make any logical sense to me. The whole institution, including the fact that they are so eagerly referred to as "booth babes", seems so archaically sexist -- like it doesn't even belong in this century.

Men's disproportionate involvement in gaming culture really is a vicious cycle. Industry leaders can claim all they want that women just aren't interested in gaming, but as long as they write mostly male-centric games, patronize women when they do condescend to write games for them, and sexually objectify them at every possible opportunity, they will continue to alienate them.

Or maybe we should just turn the tables. How about this? The next time I go to a mostly female-attended convention, like, say, a scrapbooking and crafts expo, I fully expect and demand scantily clad male "eye candy" to feign interest in the latest paper design, coquettishly demo the cutting tools, pose for pictures, and give me free swag.

Vintage Ad of the Day


Text reads:
The less you spend on a car, the more you can spend on other things.

This car gets up to 40 miles to the gallon. Up to 75 miles an hour. Overhead cam engine, rack and pinion steering, 4-speed synchromesh transmission, power-assisted front disc brakes, front bucket seats, radial tires, tachometer, racing mirror. All standard equipment.

Oh, it doesn't have automatic transmission, air conditioning, and a 400-horsepower engine. But which would you rather have? Automatic transmission, air conditioning, and a 400-horsepower engine?

Or Michelle and Tammy and Alison?

The Honda Coupe. $1735. It makes a lot of sense.

You know, what pisses me off the most about this one is that until I read the small print, I actually thought this ad was targeted at female car-buyers, by sending the message that if they went for a cheaper car, they could buy themselves things like ski equipment, tennis rackets, and cowboy hats. The thought of this impressed me even more when I saw the technical language being used to describe the car, making me think for a second that Honda actually gave their female customers credit for being able to understand their product.

And then I got to the last line, which revealed Honda's real message that women are not only not the purchasers of vehicles, but that they themselves are the "things" to be purchased.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Vintage Ad of the Day

More tanning oil:


Small text reads:
You've seen the women of St. Tropez. They're sleek and exciting, and when they walk into the cafe at 10 o'clock at night, the whole cafe puts down its wine and stops to stare.

Well, their tan can be your tan. With Bain de Soliel. Its unique French formula is lush and rich, and you can get it in Dark Creme or Lotion for fast, dark tanning. White Creme for graceful, more controlled tanning. And new Super Filter for extra sunscreen protection.

Then, after your day in the sun, smooth on Apres le Soleil. The moisturizers will help keep your St. Tropez tan rich and even. For extra days. And extra nights.

I don't know. I would think a whole cafe stopping what they're doing to stare at you wouldn't necessarily be a good thing. And does this really happen for all the women of St. Tropez?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Benefiber: Making Fiber Sexy

Seriously, what is with this commercial? It's fiber.

"The clear, tasteless fiber that helps restore your body's natural digestive balance, while helping rid your body... of poop toxins."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vintage Ad of the Day


Coppertone tanning lotion in three different formulas for "fair", "normal" or "dark " skin, in which all three -- including "normal" and "dark" -- refer to the skin belonging to white people. That's funny, considering that the text reads, "Whoever you are, you'll get a beautiful tan and beautiful skin."

But I don't need to tell you about the problematic nature of tanning culture.


More Movie Fail


Pardon all the Gilmore Girls references, but what the hell is happening to Rory's former boyfriends?! First, I find out that Jess is playing a character named "Rick Rape" in this nonsense, and now, Logan has taken on the role of Tucker Max in I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell:

Seriously, what gives? At least Dean is starring in good, wholesome entertainment. It's no wonder my mom always liked him best.


Other reactions to this horrible excuse for a film:
Shakesville: Wow
Tiger Beatdown: What's Your Tucker Max Personality Type?

And for some local interest for central Ohio readers, read all about the protest against Tucker Max's appearance at The Ohio State University that went down this past spring:
The Lantern: Dozens of students protest Tucker Max

Monday, August 3, 2009


As always, link it up in the comments.

Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Ever thought of adopting your partner?
-LGBT history holds a creative (although problematic) alternative to marriage.

What About Our Daughters: Action Oriented Citizens Place Billboards About Missing Black Women
-a brilliant activist-response to the lack of media coverage of missing women and girls of color, but it will need donations to continue

Adventures of a Young Feminist: Women in Home Security Commercials
-Advertising offers piece of mind for women, but don't men need security systems, too?

abyss2hope: Carnival Against Sexual Violence 75

Feminist Philosophers: Kleenex for men
-You just can't make this stuff up.

Whose Planet Is It Anyway? Rex Reed Spouts Disgusting Bigotry
-Screw Rex Reed. I happen to think Adam looks like a lovely movie.

DAMSEL: Tanning Beds Cause Cancer, Study Shows
-So is the answer to rush out and buy spray tanning products, or should we quit buying into the idea that tans are necessary?

Feministing: Girls Rock (Stephanie/Green Day Edition)
-Getting to go up on stage to play with the band was always a fantasy of mine while I was busy learning to play Megadeth songs in junior high, so this Stephanie chick is pretty much my new hero.

I may avoid going to the movies just so I don't have to sit through this trailer again:

Okay, so I generally like Kyra Sedgewick, Michael C. Hall, and Milo Ventimiglia, but this movie looks like such a huge, horrible, steaming pile of indulgent mindlessness:

If you're not already sufficiently repulsed, IMDb reveals that Ventimiglia's character is named "Rick Rape".

Vintage Ad of the Day


Text reads:

The following are the claims made for Madame Rowley's Toilet Mask, and the grounds on which it is recommended to ladies for Beautifying, Bleaching, and Preserving the Complexion:

FIRST - The mask is Soft and Flexible in form, and can be Easily Applied and Worn without Discomfort or Inconvenience.

SECOND - It is durable, and does not dissolve or come asunder, but holds its original mask shape.

THIRD - It has been Analyzed by Eminent Scientists and Chemical Experts, and pronounced Perfectly Pure and Harmless.

FOURTH - With ordinary care the Mask will last for years, and its VALUABLE PROPERTIES Never Become Impaired.

FIFTH - The MASK is protected by letters-patent, and is the only Genuine article of the kind.

SIXTH - It is recommended by Eminent Physicians and Scientific Men as a SUBSTITUTE FOR INJURIOUS COSMETICS.

Seventh - The Mask is a Natural Beautifier, for Bleaching and Preserving the Skin and Removing Complexional Imperfections.

COMPLEXION BLEMISHES May be hidden imperfectly by cosmetics and powders, but can only be removed permanently by the Toilet Mask. By its use every kind of spots, impurities, roughness, etc., will vanish from the skin, leaving it soft, clear, brilliant, and beautiful. It is harmless, costs little, and saves its user money. It prevents and removes wrinkles, and is both a complexion preserver and beautifier. Famous society ladies, actresses, belles, etc., use it.


Saturday, August 1, 2009



Anytime someone brings up the dearth of good female characters in animated films, I always feel a little sad that more people don't know about Hayao Miyazaki. Girls are front and center in so many of his films, showing strength and courage and curiosity and wisdom and adventurousness -- basically, he knows how to portray girls as multi-dimensional people. Here's the trailer for the U.S. release of his latest offering, Ponyo:

Dan and I both agreed the trailer seemed a little over-Disneyfied, and the heavy use of the Disney voice guy made us feel like we were aboard Disney's Magical Express, but we're excited all the same.

Vintage Ad of the Day


Text reads:
Vibra-Bra: the bra that helps make it possible to go without one!

Very few women are lucky enough to have the firm, perfect figure. And today's fashions call for no bra. (In some cases no tops.)

The women of Europe discovered the answer with the Vibra-Bra Method. And now it's available to the women of America. Developed in Switzerland, manufactured in the United States to fine American technical standards, Vibra-Bra is an electric vibrator for the bust that with its unique program, gives strength and vitality to weak and frail breasts. It firms and tones. Aids circulation and tightens loose muscles. Vibrating action eases tension, relaxes and smooths.

Totally safe, tested and approved by leading authorities. Just put it on and relax. Read, sew, watch television because you can wear it anywhere. It works on one absolutely safe battery.

Daily treatments using the Vibra-Bra program will bring new elasticity to tired tissues and flaccid ligaments which support the bust. Helping you to regain (or retain) youthful fitness and fullness. You may never have to wear a bra again.

Vita-Bra guaranteed for one year against any defects of manufacture or materials.

Send the coupon below with your check for only $9.95. And get in shape for the no-bra look.