[Trigger warning for racism, misogyny, body policing, and sexual violence.]
Behold, the latest ad, "Hail to the V," from the misogynist body-policers at Summer's Eve (and, yes, I realize there are some women who find value in their products, and my contempt for Summer's Eve does not extend to their consumers; my contempt is firmly rooted in their perpetual sales pitch that all women need their products because our bodies stink):
A woman of color in an animal skin dress holds up a baby swaddled in hide against the backdrop of the aurora borealis in a night-scape on a mountainside as "primitive" drums play. "It's the cradle of life," says a female voiceover. The music takes on a male chorus as the scene changes to a Cleopatra-like character lifting her arms into a V atop a pyramid over a cheering crowd. "It's the cradle of civilization," says the voiceover. The music takes on an action beat as the scene switches to a fight between two Asian men in a bamboo forest, as a mysterious Asian woman watches them. "Over the ages and throughout the world, men have fought for it," says the voiceover, as the scene segues to a jousting match in Merry Olde England as a princess gazes on, "battled for it, even died for it." One knight knocks the other off his horse, then raises his faceguard to look at the princess, who smiles at him. "One might say, it's the most powerful thing on Earth." The music crescendos, then immediately dies to muzak as the scene cuts to a grocery store, where a modern woman of color is standing in an aisle, holding a Summer's Eve product in her hand. "Hmm!" she says, as if it's a revelatory new product, looking at the bottle, then putting it in her cart. "So, come on, ladies," says the voiceover, now in a conversational tone. "Show it a little love!"Well, that's a real douching of history, right there. Women's vulvas/vaginas are powerful because men throughout history have fought and died for them. Yeah, somehow killing other men for the right to rape "their" women doesn't strike me as evidence of the all-powerfulness of the "V."
Cut to a screen showing the products, labeled "Hail to the V." "Cleansing wash and cloths, from Summer's Eve," says the voiceover. "Hail to the V!"
There are so many things wrong with this ad, I hardly know where to begin, so I'll just leave you to deconstruct its every nefarious nuance in comments.
I will, however, just quickly note that the ad is, ironically, the best argument against the product: Millennia before there were products designed to make women feel ashamed about the smell of our vulvas and/or vaginas, they were still pretty popular.
[H/T to Shaker Elizabeth.]