Have We Come a Long Way, Baby?

Many Western women today don’t realize how easy they’ve got it. Think about it. Up until the 1960s, women were expected to get married, have children, and cater to their husbands, and that was pretty much it. That was their lot in life. Some may have worked “suitable” jobs, but once they got married of course they would quit and devote their lives to their family…which wouldn’t be a bad deal if it was a choice instead of a forced expectation. Women were looked down upon if they wore certain clothes, if they smoked, or if they swore. They were forcibly held back when they tried to achieve more with their lives.

Today, women wear all sorts of clothing, and they smoke and drink if they want to (gasp!). They also have satisfying careers in addition to having families, or instead of. Don’t even get me started on swearing.

But…of course barriers remain. I could talk about the “glass ceiling” at work, and how male supervisors who tell their employees what to do are obeyed as a matter of course, whereas women who do this are viewed as “bossy” (even by other women, by the way). Or how girls endure ridiculous dress codes at school thereby reinforcing the idea that a boy’s education is more important than their own. But that’s a rant for another time! I want to discuss something else.

I just saw this on Facebook, and it has me shaking my head. It’s an ad for a weight loss drink. Maybe it works. Probably doesn’t. I don’t really care. My eye only caught the headline.

weight loss drink ad

My husband said, “Do something about this or I can’t stay.”

The “this” being the woman’s excess weight.

And just what is this ad implying? That if your husband – who probably has his own beer belly which he thinks nothing of – doesn’t want you to be overweight, then by God and by Golly, you’d better lose weight!

Does this sort of “threat” advertising really work? Well, it must…otherwise “they” wouldn’t do it. It’s what advertising folks do, after all, it’s their job, it’s what they get paid the big bucks to do – work to create doubt and even fear in people so that they’ll buy the weight loss products, or the makeup, or this, or that…

Honestly, my first reaction when seeing this ad was WTF?

I mean really, do women still put up with this from their husbands or boyfriends in this day and age?  I’d tell mine to go to hell!  Well…maybe that’s why I’m not still married.  Could explain a lot.

Now, my issue isn’t with the pros and cons of weight loss – I’m most definitely not into fat shaming and I believe everyone should have the peace to live their own life without others judging them. Be healthy, be happy, be yourself.  It’s not up to me – or anyone else, least of all an advertising company – to tell you how to live your life.

The thing is, if you are going to try to sell a weight loss product, is this ad the best way to do it? I just want to know what the stats are on this particular marketing technique.

Personally, even if this stuff actually worked like a charm, which I highly doubt, I’d be more apt to tell any woman reading this ad that if that’s what her husband thinks, she should tell him off instead of ordering this godsend of a diet drink!

I was glad to see I wasn’t alone in my reaction, by the way.  Most of the comments under the advertisement were of the same mind as me.  It was nice to have company as I sat there rubbing my temples and muttering under my breath.

So, yeah.  Maybe someone needs do these Ad Guys a favor and let them know we’re not chattel anymore. That would be good.

19 thoughts on “Have We Come a Long Way, Baby?

  1. Love the post. Agree 100% and if some guy doesn’t appreciate YOU …it’s his loss. Women are controlled by the way they look and they NEVER look right because there’s no FEAR, or GUILT, or SELF LOATHING to play on when women are okay with themselves. You can’t make money on women who are content. I really think we should be past this by now but we’re not even close. Lip enhancement, and all the rest, just keeps putting money into the pockets of those who play on the fact that someone needs to be remade and altered. Blah. Actors faces make them look as if they are fifteen and then they move their gnarled hands, filled with arthritis and you’re like…OMG It’s not going to end…not as long as women need to look a certain way to get what they want out of life and that’s exactly what it’s all about. I danced through life, because of the way I looked, and never even knew it. I thought everyone had the same life I did but then someone told me the truth and I was horrified. It never occurred to me that people were judged on their looks because I wasn’t raised that way and no one in my entire family ever said a single thing about the way I looked, so I had no idea. It sucks that they pit women against each other. It sucks even more that women buy into it and yet…if a woman has always needed a man to survive, since they couldn’t make enough money (doing the same job), they did what they had to do and that is the bottom line. Until women are treated equally and are not forced to depend on men for shelter, food and protection, they will continue to starve themselves, cut themselves up and do whatever it takes to survive. WTF is right…and sometimes they end up with stupid, ugly, icky men who are far less intelligent than they are because that’s how the world is set up. Women need to take back their power and join hands to overthrow the status quo But they won’t because they have been conditioned and brainwashed into believing that there’s nothing they can do. Gag!

    • Well said and I agree. I do think changes are being made, but it has been agonizingly slow going and there is still so much more to be done in so many aspects of life (academics, careers, societal roles). Speaking to looks and aging alone, I saw a quote the other day (with a photo of Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford together) that said “It’s not that female actors age badly, it’s just that male actors are ALLOWED to age.” Sad but true in all walks of life.

  2. No, we haven’t come very far if most women’s reaction to “Do something about this or I can’t stay” is to rant and rave about whatever stupid reason he pulled out of his ass INSTEAD OF saying “Well, you better go then because I deserve someone who loves me entirely.”

    • Couldn’t agree with you more which is why I said I’d tell anyone (who supposedly loves me) saying this to me, “go to hell,” and advise others to do the same. But it is curious that this type of threat advertising is still utilized in this day and age. Advertisers, as a general rule, feed on the fear and insecurities of their product’s target audience, and sadly, it works. Still, I’m surprised this one made it through their final process though. They had to consider it would be more of a turn-off to their target audience than a motivation, that’s why I’d love to know the stats on its success/failure rate.

  3. I read this at breakfast this morning and had random thoughts about it during the day. The flip comment would be that the same advertising would work if genderflipped, with her asking, “Is it in yet? Do something about this or I can’t stay!” The ad, of course, would be for one of these exotic Asian herbal pills that’s supposed to have you packin’ where you’re lackin’.

    More seriously, I would hope that in this day and age any woman who would actually get this sort of BS from a husband, boyfriend, or significant other is saving for Exhibit A when the divorce proceedings or changing of the locks ceremony occur. I know that for too many women it’s not that way in reality – but we can hope.

  4. Its that kind of ad that has women and young girls starving themselves and trying to be something they are not. It’s not healthy physically or emotionally and takes it’s toll mentally. Real men could care less about excess weight as long as you are happy with who you are and what you are.

  5. I don’t know how many men actually say or even think something so obnoxiously disrespectful, or if instead this ad is simply playing upon women’s fears. It’s a repugnant advertisement, to be certain, but I agree that it may akin to those ads which go something along the lines of “Don’t lose your lady because she’s not happy with what you’re packing.” Very few women, and again this is just my assumption, are going to kick a guy out solely because he’s not of “substantial length and/or girth.” But to a man concerned about his perceived “shortcomings,” this sort of ad plays to his worst fears.

    • I agree with you, the ads for men are just as bad. They do feed on insecurities and fears of being left out, mocked, and abandoned which I feel are inexcusable tactics. Of course it’s bad enough when they are targeting adults, but the ads directed at young people (teens and below) are even worse.

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