Don’t You Go Changin’

There’s a commercial on SportsCenter that both creeps me out and makes me worry on behalf of my sons.

It’s a hair-removal ad, and while I can’t remember the name of the product (which goes to show that the ad isn’t doing its job), the subject matter gives me pause.

In this ad, several beautiful women are introduced, along with the amount of body hair they prefer on their boyfriends, who are more than happy to go along with the women’s wishes.

It’s creepy. There’s no other way to describe it.

And the ad makes me think:  if the tide were turned, if a commercial showed several handsome men making demands regarding their girlfriends’ physical appearance, you’d have an awful lot of people up in arms. They’d rant about it on The View. The ad would be decried as offensive, abusive and degrading to women.

I’ll admit, if Middle Sister and I were watching TV together and a commercial objectifying women was aired, I’d say something. I want her to know that she is more than a pretty face and a female body.

It’s OK, these days, to objectify guys. We’re all about empowering girls, which is great for the girls, and I’m happy that my daughter has the chance to participate in sports, study pre-calculus and marine biology, and be the stage manager for the school play. She has earned these opportunities on her own merits–not on her looks, not by virtue of her gender.

We want to make sure our daughters have a healthy understanding of themselves as young women, that they grow up with good self-esteem and aren’t willing to be pushed around or bullied by the men with whom they are building a relationship.

murph and the magictonesDon’t we want the same for our sons? Don’t we want them to be able to accept themselves for who they are–intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically?

Men who demand that women in relationships with them make changes to their physical appearance are considered sexist. But in commercials like this, women who demand that men in relationships with them make changes to their physical appearance are admired. That’s pretty scary. The double standard hasn’t gone away; it’s just changed its focus.

As Murph (of Murph and the Magic Tones in The Blues Brothers) said before signing off, “Don’t you go changin’.”