The power of protestingPosted April 2nd 2008 at 11:22 am by Barbara Payne
Saw something on television last night that—if my guess is correct—restores my faith in the power of speaking up when you see things that aren’t right. Because I can only assume that, since some single women I know noticed it and objected strenuously, there had to be many others who felt the same way.
I’m talking about the commercial put out a few months ago by the makers of Zantac, the over-the-counter drug for treating acid indigestion and acid reflux. The commercial starts out with a picture of a woman who looks like hell. In the first part of the video, she’s wearing a baggy black dress, has pouches under her eyes and is holding her stomach. The copy talks about how stomach acid can destroy your life.
Then the woman takes her Zantac, and we watch as her world is transformed before our very eyes. She’s magically transported out of her miserable little hovel to a trendy restaurant, where suddenly flowers appear and she’s surrounded by smiling people. She’s even got a belt on now to show us she really is very attractive.
But the most astounding—and insulting—part is when the special effects guys swoop into the picture with a little hand (I think that’s what it was–like a genie’s hand I guess) that pulls a handsome, suit-bedecked man out of thin air and places him opposite her at the restaurant table. Copy says something to the effect of, “Now, your life can begin.”
I was appalled when I first saw it. Good grief, I thought. Can women never escape the myth that we are nothing without a man? Then, a few days later, another, much younger, single woman friend called me on the phone one night and said, you won’t believe what this commercial just did! I immediately knew exactly the one she was talking about. She, too, was highly insulted by this little scenario.
Well, guess what? Last night I saw a Zantac commercial. And they had taken the offending scenes out. Hurray! Enough women spoke up about the crass, prejudiced picture the earlier version presented—and got results. For what it’s worth, maybe we SWWANs should make it a point to find a few minutes to complain to the powers that be every time we notice single women being presented in unflattering and even offensive ways.
From small beginnings, great changes come.