BACKBITE

By CLAIRE BEALE, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 21 November 1997 12:00AM

What a social whirl it’s been this week, darlings. Sunday night with the Spice Girls, then it went from there, really. Drinks with John Ayling, dinner with CIA ... and no time to rest my weary stilettos between dates.

What a social whirl it’s been this week, darlings. Sunday night

with the Spice Girls, then it went from there, really. Drinks with John

Ayling, dinner with CIA ... and no time to rest my weary stilettos

between dates.



After reading all the hype and drowning under all the ads, it was

fabulous to see the real thing in the flesh - the glamour of it all,

living icons, true professionals. No, not John Ayling and Mike Elms.



I’m talking about the fab five Spice Girls and my trip to see them

record An Audience With ... for ITV last week.



The event got me thinking once again about this whole Girl Power thing

(and my inability to stop singing the line, ’If you wanna be my lover’,

has attracted some disgusted looks and no offers whatsoever). The

problem is that the ad industry has finally caught on to the phenomenon

with a vengeance.



Take the Lee Jeans ad that came up before the Advertising Standards

Authority last week. The ad shows a jeans-clad leg and a stiletto-heeled

boot resting provocatively on a man’s bare bottom alongside the

strapline, ’Put the boot in.’ Lee argued, successfully, that the ad was

humorous and merely reflected the prevailing mood of ’girl power’.



Then there was the Nissan ad, also in the ASA report, which showed a man

clutching his balls with the strapline, ’Ask before you borrow it.’ The

ads drew around 100 complaints for their portrayal of violence against

men.



Yes, it is laughable that after decades of similar offences against

women in the name of advertising, men should run for cover quite so

quickly when they find themselves in the role of victim.



But doesn’t it also seem quite sad that advertising should seek to use

Girl Power as a shorthand for sexual power and, in so doing, create an

equally narrow and debilitating stereotype for women?



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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