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?