Look Better, Hide Better
by strawberry21 on September 27, 2016 - 12:04pm
In 2011, Edmonton hair salon “Fluid”, released an advertisement that they believed would attract costumers to their business parlour. The advertisement that intended to give a positive effect on their clientele was named one of the most controversial ad’s ever designed. While reading their slogan, “Look good in all you do”, we would not establish the use of any inappropriate content, however, opinions further shifted when the new image behind the words was released.
It is extremely clear that when viewing the advertisement attention is directly drawn to the women who to be domestically abused. Fluid Salon’s main purpose to promote their “hair-do” is not one of the prominent factors in this picture that a viewer would direct their eyes to, more so the woman who appears to have been brutally beat and violated by the man in the photograph. The gendered message noticeably being portrayed is how appearances must be kept up in order to disguise the true situation, in this case, domestic abuse. That Fluid Hair Salon will make you look incredible, even after you experience a situation such as this one. Not only is domestic violence being illustrated in this image, the portrayal of unhealthy gender identity and the sexualization of women are explicit as well. The woman looks terribly harmed yet does not posses a sad facial expression, stating that with a good hair do, you'll be alright in any circumstance. Jennifer Siebel Newson, Founder and CEO of the powerful documentary stated, “We need to challenge the media conglomerates to value women for more than their youth, beauty and sexuality, and we must hold these companies accountable” (Miss). Fluid Salon is supporting the notion that looking the part of a beautifully coifed caucasian woman will disguise what is left in the dark, moreover, that even Fluid’s services could make a violated woman look beautiful.
The reason as to why we should be concerned when seeing advertisements such as the one released by Fluid Salon, is due to the sense of insecurity that women can develop when viewing something as disturbing. Moreover, the woman who is brutally beat can convey the message to viewers that beauty is more important than speaking out about inappropriate, unacceptable actions. That looking good, being beautiful, can create a disguise for pain. Women should not be surrounded with advertisements that illustrate awful messages, but rather ones that seek positive outcomes within women’s thoughts, make them feel as superior as men, and that being beautiful should not be a mask to hide what is being suffered on the inside. The advertisement goes against society’s conventions of gender equality, as the male dominates the scene and is standing above the women as if he is superior. The man, who looks as if he has no remorse, is clearly satisfied with his actions by the expression on his face. The necklace in his hand can be seen to represent the lack of respect towards the woman, further believing a necklace can compensate for the nauseating crime he has committed. Moreover, not only does this advertisement affect women, but it can produce a superior mindset for men along with that money can fix everything. These effects are extremely problematic in our society as gender inequality should start to diminish, not evolve. Miss Representation shows that Women are being poorly depicted on television, and in all sources of the media. Margaret Cho stated, “The media treats women like shit” (Miss). It causes women to feel as if they are expected to live up to societal expectations, the expectations that the media portrays, primarily being beautiful. Everyone should be aware of the strong influence that the media retains, and advertisers should be cautious when releasing an advertisement, as the message and image can effect people to extreme lengths.
If the advertisement were to be fixed, a prominent factor that I would change would be to lose the domestic violence image. Journalist Katie Couric stated that society’s actions are merely reflections of what we observe in the media, “The media can be an instrument of change” (Miss). Not only did Miss Representation convey the message that the media portrays the sexualization of women, but they proved that it is advertisements such as Fluid’s that causes the society to be so judgemental. With that being said, it is utterly inappropriate and the salon should further exchange their photograph with a woman pursuing something encouraging rather than being in a harmful situation. The use of domestic violence was a poor choice of imagery as it caused a lot of controversy and negative responses from the viewers, Fluid should pursue imagery that maintains positive influences for women and their minds, rather than one’s that bring down their self-esteem. For example, if the woman were riding in a race car with beautiful hair, this would portray the image that a woman is not only capable of doing activities that are gender based, but can do them while looking good as well. The message that would be taken on in that case would revolve around gender equality while still promoting their hairstyles.
Nudd, Tim. "Hair Salon Defends Domestic Violence Ad, but Apologizes Too." AdWeek. N.p., 31 Apr. 2011. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.
Miss Representation. Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, performances by Christina Aguilera, Michele Bachmann, Chris Baker, and Krystal Ball 2011.