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? 



Works Cited 


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...> 



What drew us to the original post was the catchy title and the interesting yet disturbing image/ad that was shown at the top. We thought that this ad was very shocking and hard to understand. We could not figure out if this advertisement was encouraging male abuse over female or it was just trying to make a joke. We found it very interesting that still today male supremacy and privilege is shown in ads this clearly. When you mentioned how the man was in a position of power towards the female and how easy it was for him to be forgiven with a simple jewellery it made us reflect about the concept of how male can easily away with violence. The fact that he was standing up made it clear that he was in a position of power and reflected the actual problem of male privilege in a society in which female are often are oppressed and do not find the strenght or help to get out of these kinds of situations.

For more information on male privilege: http://www.winnipeg.ca/clerks/boards/citizenequity/pdfs/white_privilege.pdf

What drew us to the post would be the title, because it touches upon domestic violence and male privilege. The aspect of the article that shocked and upset us the most about this advertisement would be that it is based in Edmonton, Alberta, our neighboring province. Whereas, usually when we hear about these sort of ignorant advertisements, they originate from the United States. We felt upset about the advertisement because they used the women as an object, while also showing sexual and physical abuse. When you mentioned that the man was being shown as a symbol of male dominance it made us think about the male privilege that is present in our society. As mentioned in our class, men have always been seen and treated as a dominant figure over females in our society. As you described, the man standing over the women displays this dominant aspect by undervaluing and under appreciating the women’s life by displaying gender inequality.

What mainly drew us to this post would be how the advertisement does not suggest a hair salon. You made very important points about how this advertisement can relate and indicate possibilities of domestic abuse and rape. This post made us think about an issue we have not considered before, which is how society views women as flawless as long as they look attractive and fancy. Society does not think that they are facing issues since women have been taught to hide it well.
We find it very interesting how this advertisement was allowed in a magazine considering it has no relation to hair salons. We did not realize how much media can impact our behaviours and thoughts. We have noticed articles that have brought women to a certain expectation level. However, we did not think about the impact it has on our society. This advertisement basically encourages men to dominate women because of the gender inequalities. We find it a very important issue.
In our class The Myth of Race & Reality of Racism, we have learnt that children should be taught at a young age about race and racism. We should do the same about gender and gender inequalities. For instance, we learnt that children notice race at a young age and tend to identify it. Instead of ignoring the child and the subject, we should address it as early as we can. If a child were to see this advertisement, they would question the dominance of men over women. The teacher or caregiver should talk to the child appropriately and educate the child on the inequality women face. They should also teach the child about gender in general, to show them that some face discrimination in society but that there are people who are trying to positively change the issue.

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