This 2006 commercial is part of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, and demonstrates a woman’s appearance undergoing a major transformation in order to become suitable for a billboard advertising makeup. In the clip, we witness the makeup application, hair styling, light-engineering, airbrushing and photo-shopping that ultimately culminate in a billboard bearing little resemblance to the original woman’s appearance. The clip and its tagline – “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted” – function to critique the beauty industry and the unrealistic standards for appearance it imposes on women and girls.
Gente-fied is a web series that focuses on the experiences of the Boyle Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles as it grapples with the effects of gentrification. The series follows a range of mostly Mexican American characters as they negotiate neighborhood change. The series’ trailer introduces some of these residents, hinting at their complicated identities, and some of the cultural, generational, and class conflicts that gentrification can bring.
This 2103 advertisement is for GoldieBlox, a toy company that makes engineering toys for girls with the mission of getting girls building. The company was founded by Debbie Sterling, a Stanford University trained mechanical engineer who wanted to “disrupt the pink aisle” and provide girls with more options for toys beyond dolls and princesses. The ad shows three girls watching a stereotypically girly and pink television advertisement with unimpressed looks of boredom and inability to relate on their faces. The background music changes as the girls grab tool belts, hardhats, and safety goggles, and are then shown participating in a complex Rube Goldberg “Princess Machine,” where a series of deliberately engineered chain reactions turn objects from the inside and outside of the house into a fun, complex contraption used to ultimately change the channel from the stereotypical tv commercial at the beginning of the ad. The new commercial the girls see shows Goldie the cartoon character from GoldieBlox who is a kid inventor that loves to build, and advertises the company’s engineering toys with the tagline, “toys for future engineers.” The video ends with the three girls in the living room where they started, wearing the tool belt, hardhat, and safety goggles and standing with arms crossed and expectant looks on their faces.
The First Moon Party is a viral online advertisement created by the feminine care company, Hello Flo. The company sends women a monthly care package with related menstrual supplies such as tampons and other gifts and goodies, including candy. The video offers a comical take on traditional feminine hygiene commercials, in which a pre teen is angry because she is the last of her friends to get her period, and therefore decides to fake it. She attempts to trick her mother by painting red “cherrylicious” nail polish onto a pad, but her mother, who immediately sees through the lie, throws her daughter a surprise “first moon party.” Grandparents, friends, and other family members arrive at the party where there are a variety of activities, including ovary (apple) bobbing, “pin the pad on the period,” and a uterus piñata. The daughter becomes extremely mortified, learns her lesson, and is given a Hello Flo period starter kit.
This video shows a group of young African American kids, aged 6 to 13, from Ferguson, MO speaking candidly and sarcastically about the issues in their community in light of the 2014 Ferguson, MO riots and ongoing tension between the mostly black community and the mostly white law enforcement, ignited over the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. After shoplifting from a convenience store, Brown was walking with his friend when they were stopped by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, who had been notified of the robbery. An altercation ensued, and Wilson fatally shot the unarmed teenager. This incident spotlighted ongoing, systemic racial profiling and racial discrimination in Ferguson, and prompted larger conversations about stop and frisk laws around the nation. In the video, the kids all wear t-shirts that say, “Racism is not over. But I’m over racism,” and highlight the ignorance that white people often have over the topic of racism, using phrases such as, “Is racism still a thing?” The kids answer, “Just because Beyonce is on your playlist, and you voted for Obama, it doesn’t mean our generation has seen the end of racist drama.” The kids go on to present statistics about systemic racial discrimination, such as stop-and-frisk policies and job discrimination. This video, from the activist site fckh8.com, uses kids and a lighthearted tone to contrast with the heavy subject matter. In doing so, the video exposes and pokes fun at the racial issues, particularly between whites and blacks, and America’s lack of acknowledgement over issues that clearly still exist. At the end, a white man comes on screen and says that the first step to combatting racism is acknowledging it.