Hair removal company Veet has attained a trifecta of offensiveness with their new ad campaign "Don't Risk Dudeness," which manages to be sexist, homophobic and transphobic in 30 seconds flat.
The spot opens with a man lying in bed, reaching out to caress what he thinks will be his girlfriend's baby-smooth leg. Alas, she has literally transformed into a big, hairy dude overnight because she went one day (one day!) without shaving. Hate it when that happens.
Said dude, who is dressed in a pink tank top and still has a girl's voice (because men displaying any femininity is hilarious), says sheepishly, "Yeah, I know, I'm a little prickly. I shaved yesterday!" The ad then closes with the tagline, "Don't risk dudeness! Veet Wax Strips: Feel womanly around the clock."
Nothing like a little body shaming to make a gal never want to buy a Veet product again.
Marketers regularly pray on women's insecurity to sell them beauty products, but this is ridiculous. For one thing, showing two men in a bed together for laughs is a tired, homophobic joke. Even worse, equating body hair with "dudeness" (plus poking fun at a guy in a cami) is more than a little transphobic. Last time I checked, waxing doesn't make you a girl, and going natural doesn't make you a guy. In the words of India Arie, we are not our hair.
The above ad is the worst offender, but there are three more in Veet's stubble-shaming arsenal: In one, a paramedic recoils at the sight of an injured woman's abundant leg hair; another shows a taxi driver speeding away from a woman's au natural armpits; and a third features a pedicurist (who is Asian, because at this point why not throw a little racial stereotyping into the mix?) muttering "Oh, this is terrible" as she lathers up a client's hairy stems.
This should be common sense, but women actually don't have an obligation to shave their legs. In fact, they don't have an obligation to do anything to their bodies that they don't want to do. And they are womanly "around the clock" regardless of whether or not they choose to forcefully rip the hair follicles out of their skin on the daily.
Hairlessness as a beauty standard is totally arbitrary. As Feministing points out, "The irony of Veet's campaign is that the very existence of its product undermines the idea that there is anything naturally 'womanly' about a hairless body."
Besides, if a guy ever were to shame a woman he's in bed with for having stubble (something I highly doubt happens all that often anyways), he doesn't deserve an apology. He deserves to get kicked out of bed.
Show your support on behalf of prickly-legged ladies and gentlemen everywhere, and tell Veet you're #NotBuyingIt.