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Pantene to Women: Feel Insecure About Your Insecurities

Alexander Reed Kelly
Associate Editor
In December 2010, Alex was arrested for civil disobedience outside the White House alongside Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, Pentagon whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, healthcare activist Margaret Flowers and…
Alexander Reed Kelly

Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti blasts the beauty product manufacturer for “giving themselves a pat on the back for ’empowering’ ” women to feel better by “imploring [them] to stop apologizing for everything” — and for collecting money while doing it.

Here’s the ad:

And here are a few excerpts from Valenti’s criticism:

Pantene is the most recent company to fall into the “confidence gap”: telling women that the source of their woes isn’t workplace inequality or crappy partners who don’t do their fair share, but women themselves. According to this new dictum, women are self-sabotaging at work, love and life.

… It’s hard to disagree with the premise – it’s true, these women have nothing for which they need to apologize (and yet many women still do in those situations). The same goes for Dove’s incredibly popular “real beauty” campaign – yes, all body types should be accepted and loved. But there’s something incredibly irritating, and crass, about beauty purveyors instructing women to “stop apologizing” or “stop hating their bodies” when many such insecurities stem, at least in part, from these very companies’ advertisements.

… sometimes I say “sorry” because, if I don’t, the person to whom I’m apologizing will think I’m a pushy bitch. Sometimes being “likeable” – apologizing for “nothing”, making our voices higher, not asking for too much at work – is a survival technique for living in a culture that punishes us when we get out of line.

Maybe – just maybe – telling women that they’re making a mistake by not personally dealing better with public and social problems is just another way of selling – and materially benefiting from – our supposed shortcomings.

Read the rest here.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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