A Slap in the Face to Gender Equality: Hair Salon Ad Highlights Domestic Violence
by na17 on September 27, 2016 - 11:20pm
In this advertisement, a young woman looks straight at the camera. She sports a black eye, and is sitting on an expensive couch. A young man, dressed in a suit stands behind her, holding a diamond necklace. The ad reads: “Look good in all you do”. This ad is for a hair salon in Edmonton, Alberta, and has received a lot of negative press for the way the woman is portrayed. To start, the black eye is a sign of physical damage, usually associated to rape or intimate partner abuse. The man’s position behind her reinforces sexually inequality as the man is standing while the woman is sitting down. The words "Look good in all you do" adds a bizarre angle to this ad: the man intends to give necklace, supposedly to enrich the woman’s looks, and can also be interpreted as it being ok to beat women if you buy them nice jewelry.
This ad sends a negative message to society, especially to women. It suggests that women could be victims of severe violence and reinforces the image that women are there just for a man’s pleasure and are relegated to objects. It perpetrates the idea of gender inequality (the males is standing while the woman is sitting) which leads to moral acceptance of sexual abuse. It also convinces the victims that as long as they are wearing a fancy dress and a beautiful necklace, they are beautiful no matter what their facial expression demonstrates. Indeed, there is a feminist ethical issue in this advertisement which under-values and under-appreciates women's moral experience. This ideology is extremely dangerous to our society.
The ad is concerning. What is the main goal of this advertisement? Why does a hair salon need to convey this sort of negative message? What is the relationship of this ad and a hair salon? So many questions and yet, few answers. The media is such a powerful tool in our society; an ad like this can influence many people's behaviour and create or reinforce the distinction between right or wrong. Margaret Cho, one of the featured interviewees in the documentary Miss Representation believes that: "the media treats women like shit" and this is the main cause of concern. Women are terribly downgraded from society through social media. It is not hard to find the latest insult towards females. We just need to look at the latest trends in society such as perfume, clothing, music videos, as well as national and international events. For instance, in the U.S. presidential race, Donald Trump is criticized for his degrading comments towards women.
Although the offensive and horrific message this ad sends to viewers, it can be fixed. Multiple errors need to be tweaked in a big way. The main goal of this advertisement is to promote the hair salon based in Edmonton; therefore, this commercial can be kept simple and relevant. Firstly, it is essential to eliminate the woman's black eye. Also, it is important to create a gender equality environment in this publicity. In sum, the male will need to be seated near the female and the focus of the camera should be focus on the hairstyles. After all, this is what they are trying to promote, right?
Miss Representation. Girls' Club Entertainment, 2011. DVD.
'She's the hottest battered woman ever': Hair salon ad that promises to make you look good... after being beaten by partner. August 31. Mail Online. Web. September 26. < http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/hair-salon-defends-domestic-violence-ad-ap...>