Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Response to "Beauty and Violence"

Again, can't find a link to this essay, but here's my response to it.

Fool Me Once, Shame on You; Fool me Twice...

In "Beauty and Violence", Adam Forest responds to an ad from TIGI, makers of hair and makeup products. In his essay, he describes some truly awful imagery of violence against women. After reading his response, I pointed my web browser to the company's website, and after a few clicks I found a prominent warning label resembling something that would come from the Surgeon General. It stated, in big bold letters, "WARNING: You Must Have a Sense of Humour to Use Our Products" (http://www.tigihaircare.com/uk/products/). That message explained a lot that Mr. Forest must have missed. If this is what passes for humor at this British cosmetic company, it is sick humor, indeed. But it certainly changes the lenses through which I see this company and their ad, as well as Forest's review of it.

The name of the product line itself, "Bed Head", is the exact malady that we all try to cure with haircare products every morning. TIGI named these products with extreme irony. Likewise, Forest completely misses the point of the ad when he describes it as "the beautification of violence." What could be uglier than a black eye and a fat lip? They could have just called their new line, "Ugly", but that would have been far too obvious. Instead they chose something to embody the essence of ugliness, and again applied the irony. Unfortunately, their ad was in poor taste, as well as badly misunderstood.

While I applaud Forest's outrage at the displayed violence against women, and I agree that it is a serious problem, his efforts ought to be directed at real violence, not poor attempts at humor.

No comments: