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
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
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