October 2011

Breast Cancer: Sexualized or Trivialized, Take Your Pick

"When it comes to boobies, Americans completely lose their composure."
Out of all the diseases in the whole entire world, breast cancer is the one that is inevitably either trivialized or sexualized. Why? Because it's about boobies, and apparently when it comes to boobies, Americans completely lose their composure.
 
In the latest round of "we can't just act like this is a disease like any other," we have an iPhone app that reminds you to check your breasts for lumps. Using pictures of hot guys without shirts. What? I know. I don't really get it, either. 
 
This is a great example of something that a dude would dream up. It presumes that women only want other men feeling their breasts, or that feeling your breasts is obviously just a sexual activity. What about when you get dressed in the morning, or when you're washing in the shower? Nope, that kind of regular everyday maintenance is invisible. 

New Apple Ad Doesn't Use The Male Gaze

Much is being made about the decision to make the voice of Siri, the iPhone 4S audible assistant, recognizably female. A lot of ostensible social science gets trotted out in these discussions, but very little of it stems from actual scientific research. It's just a hodgepodge of received wisdom and urban legend posing as information. 
 
(The obvious best solution would be to allow users to choose whether they want their phone to speak in a male, female, or androgynous voice.)
 
All of which made me even more surprised when I realized what was happening in the most recent iPhone 4S television ad. The first thing I noticed was that women are well-represented in the ad. (In fact, bucking the norm in mass media, more than half of the actors are female.) I was mentally congratulating Apple on truly daring to "think different" when I realized something even more astonishing: we're not looking at their boobies.

Skinny Water Pulls Fat-shaming Ad

Still called Skinny Water, though

 

I can't wait for the day when water can just be water again and doesn't have to be dressed up in bright colors, laden with chemicals, and sold back to us. I always get a kick out of the zero-calorie beverage ads because my most frequently consumed beverage of choice is also completely calorie- and sugar-free and gets delivered straight to my kitchen for no cost at all. What can I say, I've beat the system. I'm that smart.

The "healthy" soft drink industry doesn't seem to think I or my fellow uterus-bearing fluid-drinkers are terribly smart at all, though. They keep pandering to us with ladylike colors and catchy drink names. And sometimes they advertise pretty maliciously. A new beverage campaign for Skinny Water--which seems to be a Vitamin Water clone, except it also markets itself as a sports drink like Gatorade--proclaims that "skinny always gets the attention". You know, in case you forgot that you, as a woman, are supposed to be thin in order to matter to anyone as a human being. 

Women Rule the World—By Giving Lap Dances

Looking back, I don’t know why I was so excited about the return of Glee. Maybe it’s because I actually enjoyed the first two seasons, for the most part, and didn’t anticipate the heavily-dramatic high school General Hospital it has so quickly become. Where is the humor? Where is the absurdity? Sure, there were a few instances that provided these things in these first three episodes of season three, but they were so lackluster and unsupported by anything remotely interesting that I don’t think I cracked a smile. The best part was the cameo by Glee Project co-winner Lindsay Pearce in episode one.