The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

The Many Faces Of Beautiful …

I’ve written how mental Gucci have been in the past few years in both their fashion and their marketing – though on this last point, it’s been quite refreshing from the up-itself-image-bollocks the fashion industry tends to perpetuate.

However I recently saw an ad for their lipstick that is making me think they’re doing more than just trying to superficially differentiate from the competition.

Yes brands like Dove have celebrated ‘real beauty’ before – though they also sold skin whitening products so you know that their intentions for female empowerment are not entirely true – but it’s rare for a high end fashion brand to do such a thing, especially in such dramatic fashion.

You see even though Dove celebrated women of all shapes and sizes, they tended to all be classically beautiful … however here is Gucci, doubling own on celebrating the beauty of the imperfect by showing what my American friends would say is a ‘British smile’.

We will have to see if they are truly going to push this agenda but in an industry so superficial they can make a puddle look like an ocean, this is a step in the right direction in helping women celebrate their own beauty, not someone else’s definition of it.

Some People Need A Smack In The Face. With A Chair. Wrapped In Barbed Wire.
May 2, 2018, 6:10 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Culture, Equality, Men, Sexism, Women

Remember a few weeks ago I wrote about the lack of female CSO’s … at least in comparison to male … and the need to fight against it by over-compensating for it?

Well, while my point of view was generally well received, I did cop some flack for it – unsurprisingly from men – and yet when you see the shit kids get exposed to from a young age, I wonder how they can feel the current situation is alright?

More so, I wonder how they can feel it’s fine if they’re parents to women?

Above are 2 pictures from an airline ‘duty free’ magazine.

Boys get to dream of being pilots.
Women get to dream of being air hostesses.

How many parents want their kids aspirations to be limited by their gender?

Of course there’s nothing wrong with being a member of the cabin crew – but that is about personal interests not gender limitations – and the only way this situation will change is if we remove the barriers and limitations placed on over 50% of the population and make space and opportunity for them to fulfill their potential.

Not – as I said in my original post – because it will make the world ‘fairer’ or even more ‘equal’ [though they both good reasons to do it], but because by enabling the potential of women, we all will experience the benefits of the way they see the World … a way that is often built on being better for everyone rather than just themselves.

Which, let’s be honest, is the definition of true leadership.

But there’s another reason for doing this.

It will make men better.

There is a lot to be said for being challenged by someone who expresses their talent in different ways to you.

Years ago – 2006, to be precise – I wrote about how the creative tension in the band The Who, pushed them to demand more from the music they were creating – as well as the people they were creating it with. Some of this was because of their occasional hatred for eachother, specifically Townsend and Entwistle, and some of it was because the band was so talented they would take someones musical ideas to ‘places’ they never imagined and they didn’t want to get left behind.

In other words, the tension pushed them higher … and given for so long women have had to play the support act to men – not just in companies but, as the pictures above show, in kids fashion – I believe it would be far more than just women winning if companies made more space for them to be the headline act.

Silent Sexism …

I need to rant.

You see I’m totally fucking over subtle sexism.

Don’t get me wrong, I am over overt sexism as well, but this subtle shit is doing my head in – especially in ads.

On face value, it’s nothing.

It almost feels normal in fact.

But when you stop for a second, you see the little digs.

The references to women loving shoes.

Or the colour pink.

Or some other cliched, sexist bullshit … like doing anything for doughnuts.

Oh they’ll say it’s “all in good fun”.

Or “… it’s not meant to be real, it’s advertising”.

They’ll claim you’re being too sensitive or that you “can’t say anything these days”.

Implying there was absolutely no other way they could approach the task they were given.

As if we’re bloody idiots.

And while some simply don’t get it – having spent their life living in the bubble of another era – deep down they know.

Or at least suspect.

The reality is they just don’t want to admit it.

Even if that’s just to themselves.

So they say this shit. Write this shit. Produce this shit.

And many will let it pass.

Mainly because they’re not paying close attention to the ads.

But it still seeps in.

Leaving it’s message.

Not the one the client wanted, but the one the old, conformist, sexist guys did.

And that’s why I think it’s the most dangerous sexism of all because when it’s done quietly, it affects slowly … creeping into the ears, eyes and minds of those who are exposed to it, while those who are aware of this shit, hear it like a scream.

Why Wonder Woman Was Always Wonderful …
August 4, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Culture, Empathy, Insight, Women

So as we all know, the recent movie ‘Wonder Woman’ was a massive success.

What is even more gratifying is that it was a movie that studios had resisted making for years – thinking it would never be popular.

Now I am sure if you were to ask them what those reasons were, they would have many – but I’m also sure that if you were to hear them, the overwhelming reasons we’d determine from their answers would be sexism and prejudice.

But this isn’t about the movie, it’s about the 70’s TV show.

OK, so there might be people who come on here who have no idea what I’m talking about, but decades ago, Wonder Woman was a TV show staring Lynda Carter.

While I remember it, I don’t remember much about it other than it was different to the usual 70’s superhero TV shows of Batman and The Six Million Dollar Man.

But here’s the thing, while I categorise it as a classic ‘entertainment’ show from my childhood, a recent interview with Lynda Carter makes me realise it was so much more.

Not that long ago I met someone who asked what my earliest memories about black people on television were.

When I thought about it … it was Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch and the adopted brothers from the show Different Strokes. As soon as I said it, I realised the significance. My frame of reference for any black person on television during my formative years was a guy on the edge of society and 2 kids ‘saved’ by a rich, white person.

Fuck, that’s horrible.

But imagine how it must have felt if you were a black kid in the 70’s.

Fortunately I grew up with parents who would never let me get seduced by those media stereotypes – not to mention a diverse group of friends who made sure I would never define someone by their colour or gender – but I know not everyone is like that.

Which leads back to Lynda Carter and Wonder Woman.

While all the plaudits for female empowerment are going to the recent movie, the fact is the star of the original TV show was endeavoring to do that decades ago.

While the significance of her actions may have passed me by, I imagine if you were a little girl in the 70’s watching it, it didn’t.

Having a show about a ‘super woman’ must have been good in itself, but having a show where the lead actress approached her role by saying, “… she didn’t have any particularly super X-Ray vision or anything, she just wasn’t going to put up with anything from anybody” must have been absolutely empowering and inspiring.

Seriously, when I read that, I wanted to stand up and cheer

Role models are vital.

Not just for ‘minorities’ to feel heard and valued, but for the majority to not allow prejudices to be nurtured.

So while society may be focusing on the empowering actions of The Spice Girls, Cindy Gallop, Gal Gadot or Emma Watson … it’s worth remembering and celebrating the original Wonder Woman – literally and metaphorically – Lynda Carter.

This Video Sums Up The Reality Of Men Pretty Perfectly …
January 20, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Insight, Men, Women









All words that pretty much sum up what a bunch of imposters men really are.

Of course we don’t want to admit it.

We talk a big, big game … but when we are called upon to step up to the plate, that’s when so many of us reveal [even though we do our best to hide it] we’re most definitely the weaker sex.

The reason I am saying this is because I recently saw a video that laid out the whole ugly truth in startlingly undeniable detail.

You better sit down, it’s going to be hard to watch …

Seriously, why Cindy Gallop isn’t all over this video?

All her arguments would be won in an nanosecond.

OK guys, I know I’ve broken the ‘male code’ by revealing this in public, but I have blog posts to write so it had to be done. And on the bright side, now we know why Marilyn Monroe said “Women who want to be like men lack ambition”.

What The Hell Is Going On With Women’s Advertising?

So this is going to be an interesting post because I run the risk of being called sexist, old-fashioned, out-of-touch and basically a grumpy old bastard.

However, given I’ve been called waaaaaaay worse over the years – and mainly on this blog – I’m going to keep going regardless.

So a few weeks ago I wrote about a Dior advertising campaign that makes their new lipstick, resemble a cigarette.

Some – basically, John Dodds – argued that I was ‘seeing’ what I wanted to see, but in one of George’s comments, he linked to two photographs that seem to have been inspiration for the style of shot and both of them featured a cigarette as it’s main ‘prop’.

I know that’s not undeniable evidence, but I feel the circumstantial evidence – not to mention the product name, ‘addict’ – makes it seem likely this was the intention behind the imagery. Or should I say, that specific imagery.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is a whole host of shit spouted in mens advertising.

Puerile. Sexist. stupid.

I’m in no way defending that, it’s basically what I write about every single week.

However, I am kind of shocked at how much advertising aimed at women seems to project an image that seems totally at odds with what I’ve been led to believe women like.

Of course, this is nothing new.

Worse, this is something that men helped push.

But while I am a 45 year old man with all the taste and sensitivity of an otter, the fact is I am amazed at some of the stuff I’m seeing out on the streets these days and without doubt, the worst offenders are the beauty category.

Again, this should not be a surprise given the unrealistic body imagery they have been peddling for years – admittedly created by men – but it seem beauty brands have decided their female empowerment messaging [if that is what it was] is not getting enough attention and so to counter this, they’ve adopted the strategy of recreating some of the most sexist advertising of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and simply replaced the man with a woman.

What am I talking about?


Look at it.

Seriously, have a really good look.

Tell me that is not just a crass attempt at recreating a crass ad from the past 20 years.

First there’s the language … “stays on even when you get off”.

Wow, that’s clever isn’t it.

Now let’s look at the imagery … from the young mans dishevelled appearance and unbuttoned jeans to the totally unsubtle shot of the woman’s heels rammed into the walls of the lift to convey she has fucked the poor guy senseless.

It’s all so blatant.

No subtlety, no grace … it’s just tragic.

I don’t even know if they’re trying to target young women or old … it’s just bizarre.

And before anyone accuses me of being sexist, I just want to be clear that the male ads that depicted this sort of thing, were equally as pathetic.

Now some may say this is the ultimate demonstration of ‘female empowerment’ … where a woman can act exactly in the way men have and still do.

Maybe this ad taps into the desire women have to be able to get away with the shit men have gotten away with for centuries.

Maybe, by me finding this demeaning to women rather than empowering, I’m showing I’m old and insecure.

But the thing is I think women are worth more than this.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re also worth more than the superficial ’empowerment’ messages brands have been pushing for years – messages designed to sound good but ultimately constructed to sell their products – but they’re absolutely, definitely, comprehensively worth more than this.

I’d love to know who did it.

I’d love to know the rationale behind it.

I’d love to know who they were trying to target.

I’d love to know if this is the sort of thing intelligent women want to rally around.

But most of all, I’d love to know why all these brands are only focused on female equality.

Why go for just equal.

The thing is, as I talked about in a post about Brian Clough a while back, I have absolute faith that if women were in charge, they wouldn’t aspire to do what men do, but to do things better, which reminds me of the Marilyn Monroe quote:

“Women who want to be like men lack ambition”.

Maybe it’s time brands and advertising embraced that viewpoint as well.