Veet recently launched the “Don’t Risk the Dudeness” campaign that ended up sparking a lot of controversy. People on social media responded to the advertisements negatively as many felt that the campaign was sexist.
To set the scenario, one of the ads consists of a man that wakes up next to a bearded man, who is meant to be girlfriend, who’s leg hair has grown after a day of not shaving. In addition to this scene, t here is a voice over that says “Don’t Risk the Dudeness.”
Another ad features a woman trying to hail a cab, who is ignored by the cab driver because she has armpit hair. At this point we see that she has turned into the bearded man we saw in the other advertisement.
Another one, which sparked the most controversy, was of a woman who is at the hospital after an accident and the doctor removes her pants to find that her legs are unshaven. As the doctor continues to remove the woman’s clothes she comments, “Please, not the panties.” (I couldn’t find a video link for this one)
In this society where women are often immersed into the hardship of cultural expectations, Veet’s ad seemed to contribute to media’s attempt to tell women what is socially acceptable. There seems to be a common trend, through the use of media, to make women feel uncomfortable in their own skin and therefore forced to abide to what society expects of them. Women are constantly bombarded by society’s portrayal of what is beautiful and what is not, so advertisements like these tend to feed such cycle towards the insecurities of women. To understand the effect of media on women I thought back to the Dove Campaign and how the company has attempted to use different types of women in their advertisements, in terms of size, race, and age. I remember that a lot of people responded positively to Dove’s campaign and thought that it was refreshing to see companies move away from the status quo of using stick-thin models, which is what many companies tend to do.
The most obvious reason as to why people responded negatively to the campaign was that it felt like Veet was telling women that they were not attractive if they had body hair, and although the advertisement was probably meant to humor people, it definitely ended up outraging many. Advertising is a very powerful tool to get the attention of the audience and they successfully did, but just not in the right way.
Lu, A. (2014, APRIL 09). Veet’s ‘don’t risk dudeness’ campaign ads called sexist [videos]. International Business Times, Retrieved from http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/547291/20140409/veet-don-t-risk-dudeness-advertisement-campaign.htm