Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"You've Come a Long Way, Baby!"

From what I understand, the term women’s rights typically refer to freedoms inherently possessed by women and girls of all ages. These rights are often ignored, suppressed or even violated through law, custom and religious tradition. It has just been over the past few generations that women have been afforded rights that their female ancestors were denied. It has only been because of women such as Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), Kate Sheppard (1847-1934) and Dora Russell (1894-1986) just to name a few, that women have rights which guarantee them equality among themselves and men.

Over the years, organizations such as world governments, corporations and human rights commisions have had to recalibrate their ways of thinking in order to recognize the worth of women throughout the world. Business marketers and advertising agencies have also been forced to apply new ways of reaching the masses without violating female’s rights. Some tried to compensate their thinking by attempting to reach the female population in order to sell their products but failed miserably.

Virginia Slims Cigarettes came out with a slogan that appeared to celebrate “the woman” as an individual with the saying “You have come a long way baby!” When I look back at read these adds, I cannot help but laugh at the irony. “Yes,” they may have been successfully celebrating new women’s rights and successes but they failed by calling them “baby.” How many women want to be called “Baby?”

“Hey Babe, wuzz happenin’ !”… “Hey Baby, you wanna dance?!”

I think it safe to say that if I called my female friends “Baby,” I would probably be the one crying like a baby after I double over in pain with a kick… you get the idea!

As you will find out over the next few months, I have an interest in vintage magazine ads as well as a being proponent of human rights. What better way to enjoy both areas other than by combining the two together. I just think that many of these ads, though may be seen as appropriate in their day are so very chauvinistic, racist and "behind the times" when you look at them through the eyes of the 21st century. We may laugh at them now because they are so “way out there” but there is nothing funny about treating people in an unequal manner.

So… every once in awhile, I look forward to venturing onto this road of discussion.

“Hasta la vista … Baby!” (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terminator 2)

7 comments:

abbagirl74 said...

Interesting.

Janice said...

I agree with your thinking and look forward to more of these posts...I would also add this: when advertising takes sex and all its nuances out of their ads woman will have gained a true step towards total equality. Our children who are bombarded daily with this type of advertising from every kind of media will learn the proper respect for a woman and live life accordingly. When the exploitation of women as sex objects comes to an end there will be a considerable change for the good in the world as we know it...excellent post Dave

Becky Wolfe said...

Interesting post today. Stuff I just don't think about I guess. When so many women are participating in the campaigns that other women say are exploitive, its hard to find a balance I think. ie, does the beautiful woman in the ad care that she is a symbol of exploitation for a woman who feels 'not so beautiful'. I dunno. On the fence I guess.

Thanks for the link to the UN Refugee site. A lot of info on there. Sort of overwhelming. As always, my dillemma is how do you choose when there are so many good ones & so many in need.

Cheers!

Le Nightowl said...

I won't comment on the provocative posters :)))
Of course in France women are rarely called "baby": "bébé" or "poulette" sound very outdated somehow, youngsters rather use "meuf" (untranslatable, it's "femme" in verlan, a form of slang that reverses some syllables)
I love vintage ads too, they usually are superb works of art.
You can see some nice vintage French ad posters here.
Marie

Dave said...

Hi abbagirl!... Intersting good? or interesting bad? Have a great day abbagirl and try not to burn youself out. You sound to be very very busy! :-)

Hi janice!...Equality among the sexes is what it is all about. Thanks Janice.

Hi Becky!...You are right when you say that maybe the woman in the ad doesn't care ... I don't think the issue is the girl in the picture but instead the message contridicting the choice of what to call her (Baby?). Thought provoking I suppose. Take care Becky.

Hi Marie!... Vintage is one of my favorite words! Take care! :-)

Stomper Girl said...

Hi Dave, enjoyed this post and the Wonder Woman ad. I'm not so offended by "baby" although not if used patronisingly or by someone I don't know. I still really hate being called "madam" though.

Thanks for visiting.

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