Make Your Man Happy with Makeup–WTF?!

The following pictures are from a current television commercial in Korea for Aritaum cosmetics. While I know that Aritaum has no more lofty purpose than to sell as much lipstick, perfume and eyeshadow as possible, this ad actually touches on a lot of very serious issues–and I shudder at the negative messages it sends to both men and women.

It starts with a couple sitting in a patio. The man looks at his girlfriend who has the “gall” to be looking really relaxed: she has glasses on instead of contacts, her hair is up in a bun, and she’s not wearing makeup. The boyfriend’s look of disgust is followed by captions which inform the viewer that they have been dating for three years. The man laments that it seems they are more like siblings than lovers  since she’s not prettying herself up anymore.

When he sees a nearby couple acting all lovey-dovey, he has his EUREKA moment: “Of course! I’ll drag my girlfriend to the Aritaum makeup store so she can be presentable and put the spark back in our relationship!” Cue upbeat K-pop song in the background, and the couple run into the store where she happily engages in a makeover while he approvingly looks on.

The happy ending to this scenario is that the girl is now an object of beauty, as she should be, and thus deserves a kiss from her boyfriend, who is only overcome with love when his girlfriend primps for him–how romantic. The final caption lets the viewer know that Aritaum is there for us to make our pulse race–how reassuring.

Sigh–it’s hard enough being a woman without the media constantly throwing it in our face. This commercial adds yet another little shoulder devil to both men and women to whisper sweet nothings in our ear like:

  • Women are objects of beauty, and should always live up to this role with makeup.
  • Women carry the onus of making sure the relationship doesn’t go stale by remaining attractive at all times.
  • Consumerism, not communication, is the ready solution for a relationship slump.
  • Feelings of love don’t stem from loving a person’s personality and character, but from their outer appearance.

Here is the video in full for those of you who think pain is pleasure ;)! Oh, and the spoken Korean at the beginning translates to, “Man, I can’t believe she doesn’t even apply makeup anymore–”  Personally, I find myself having to sit on my hands to keep from throwing something at the screen whenever this commercial comes on! So what is your response? Anger? Disgust? A bemused chuckle?

About mz jenny lee

Wearing many hats for a living...because who wants to wear just one hat? My many and diverse interests have lead to different blogs so I can give them individual love and attention :)! I hope you enjoy them! View all posts by mz jenny lee

6 responses to “Make Your Man Happy with Makeup–WTF?!

  • surprisesaplenty

    The video for the Lee hyo-ri song, “U go, girl” seemed to suggest that girls needed plastic surgery to be attractive.

    • mz jenny lee

      Wow—thanks for letting me know, Brian. Basically, I avoid all K-pop like the plague, so I had no idea about this video. I just watched it now, and you’re right: it’s a blatant message to girls to go visit a plastic surgeon if they want to be popular and attractive. And really, this is worse than the tv commercial cuz so many young women seriously IDOLIZE these K-pop stars….

      U go, girl video link:

  • harmoniousscholar

    wtf indeed. i’m curious about the political economy behind this makeup – might be interesting to look into. stats on the makeup industry in korea versus other countries (particularly those in east asia). anecdotally, we all seem to know korea’s a cosmetic-consuming giant. but i’m curious about more specific figures. who pushes this industry? where’s this makeup come from? might help explain on some level why there’s still such a push to keep selling this shit. guy in video looks like a major tool.

  • 4livinglife

    OMG! wow! I do not watch very much television so I don’t even know the newest commercials that are on in the States but, that is crazy and I can’t even imagine the amount of young girls that will forever be damaged by this. It’s the same with the super skinny model thing. I think it’s time for a boycott 🙂

    • mz jenny lee

      I wholeheartedly agree! And it’s not just the girls who are “damaged,” since this also sends a normalizing message to boys regarding their expectations of girls’ beauty…

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