Volume , Number 0
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Criminalizing the Charitable
Jenna e. Ziman
I Dreamed I Was In â€¦
Welfare Rights Activism
John potash and laurel Carpenter
Rural Prison as Colonial Master
New Party Report: Making Work â€¦
Human Rights Watch World Report â€¦
Haiti: The Roof Is Leaking
Word Tricks & Propaganda
Liggett Narcs Joe Camel
Cleaning up the Hamptons
Mobuto Was Chaos
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I Dreamed I Was In A Bra Ad in My Maidenform Bra
Gals, there is a controversy raging here at Hotel Satire. Its terrible. Mom gals arent speaking to daughter gals and vice verse. Gals who have been friends for years now wont visit or even phone.
What, you ask, has caused such dissension? Im so upset over the whole thing that Im hesitant to talk about it in this column. I can say that its not about that much-talked about second lieutenant (the nations first gal B-2 bomber pilot) gal whos trying to get an honorable discharge, instead of being court-martialed, after committing (a) adulteryshe has sex with a civilian who told her he was separated; (b) fraternizingshe had sex with an enlisted man. Its true this is disgusting and she should be shot, frankly. She should be shot for having premarital sex and for being a B-2 bomber pilot.
But the gals here all agree on this issue: gals can be in the military as long as they are there to service guys (preferably for free, or very low pay). Otherwise, gals should not be in the service, but should be servicing (in any way they can, if you catch my drift). Thats it, case closed.
We are also not arguing over a recent newspaper report about a raging debate over a Peruvian law that exonerates a rapist if he offers to marry the gal victim, and she accepts. The case in question involved a group of drunken men in their 20s who raped a 17 year old girl who was on her way home from work in Lima. Her father and brothers tracked down the three men. The father wanted to kill them. Her brother wanted to beat them. She wanted to press charges. But when one of the rapists offered to marry her, her family pressure her to accept and she finally yielded after being threatened by the men who had raped her. (NYT, March 7) Its an incredible story. But we are not fighting over that one. We all agree that the gal should not have been walking home from work; hence she deserved what she got. In fact, we feel it worked out so well for the gal, that we suspect she planned the whole thing in order to catch a husband. End of discussion; case dismissed.
We are also not fighting about the news that a Baptist church in Little Rock, Arkansas closed its day care center, saying that working mothers neglect their children, damage their marriages, and set a bad example. In a letter to the parents, the First Baptist Church said that families could get by on one salary if they went without such luxuries as "big TVs, a microwave, new clothes, eating out, and nice vacations." (Boston Globe) Is there really any need for discussion here? Gals can be part of the church and the working world as long as they are their to service guys for little or no pay. Thats in the Bible somewhere, so lets put this argument to rest, once and for all.
We are also not in dispute over the controversial new magazine for gals from the publishers of Sports Illustrated. The magazine, womensport, has a pregnant basketball player on the cover of the premiere issue, and such feature articles as "Are Young Girls Safe: The Coach as Sexual Predator," and "Why I Fell For Grant Hill," plus "Tonya and Nancy." The Hotel gals agree that gals can play a sport as long as they look pretty doing it, dont interfere with guys needs in the process, and as long as no contact is involved (as this can cause lesbianism to occur).
No, the thing that has us fussing and fighting here at the Hotel, is over whetherdare I say it out loud?the new Maidenform Bra ads are: (a) better than the old ones from the 50s, or (b) a feminist lesbian plot. As many of you older gals may recall, the most famous Maidenform campaign, that ran from 1949 to 1969, depicted gals enacting fantasies of accomplishment and purpose, i.e., gals who stopped traffic, or starred on television, while proudly showing off their Maidenform bras. These ads, say our Hotel gals who favor them, are excellent because they show gals doing important thingsin their dreams, and in their underwear. Another group argues the superiority of the earlier ads because the Maidenform bras were pointed, hence gals Maidenform breasts bore no resemblance whatsoever to reality, but rather served to please men, which, as weve stated above, should be what gals are all about.
The new Maidenform ad campaign, "Maidenform Unhooked," with a budget of $5 million, will be part of an elaborate effort to create a less formal, more contemporary image for Maidenform. The goals are twofold: infusing the brand identity with a persona that will be perceived as "liberating but not lubricious, and reflecting the significant changes in consumer life styles without being prurient or prudish. And those attempts at change must be achieved without alienating current customers." (NYT, March 12) Says, Susan Malinowski, vice president of marketing at Maidenform, "Our research found that women have changed a great deal in terms of how they feel about themselves They said theyre expressing themselves in a freer, sexier, more fashionable way that needs to be in a way they feel comfortable and safe." Rosemarie Ryan, president at Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners ad agency, said that research also disclosed that "because women now play a lot of very different rolesmother, wife, soccer mom, lover, employersometimes they want to take time out to be a woman and have some fun." So the unhooked ads feature a rainbow coalition of gals posing in their bras, unhooking their bras, and out of their bras (and wearing only sarongs with their bras) next to statements like "Most men dont notice my eyes are hazel" and "No one lays a hand on them without loving me first" and "they crave passion" and "They changed before the baby, and after. I wonder what theyll do for an encore" and "The way my husband looks at me, youd think I was twenty."
Naturally, the younger gals at Hotel Satire love these ads because they reduce gals to their essence, which is the bra. Second, they really agree that "they want to take time out to be a woman and have some fun" And what, they claim, could be more fun than to constantly try on their many bras, hooking and unhooking them at will, taking different poses and so forth, in hopes that some guy will fall in love and lay a hand on "them." They also point out that the ads dont really violate the Hotel Satire gal proviso that gals purpose is to service guys for little or no pay. The gals who hate these new ads point out that although these unhooked gals do seem ready to service guys, they are looking too damn liberated about it (i.e., too aggressively sexual, as if they might actually enjoy having their breasts fondled, etc.) They also say that the slogan "unhooked" is a good one, that it doesnt mean gals are liberated, radical lesbians. Rather , it suggests that gals must spend most of their waking moments checking to see if their bras are fastened or unfastened or just what is going on back there (or down there, for those with the front hooking bra).
I have stayed out of this controversy. Not that I dont agree it is the most important question of the day. I do. But I have become obsessed with another ad campaign. Perhaps youve seen it. A woman is shown, smoking a cigar, with a bottle of Jim Beam on the page opposite. The caption reads "Get in touch with your masculine side." Can anything be more terrible, more destructive to Hotel Satire agenda? Soon the ads will be depicting gals flying B-2 bombers in their new 1990s style bras, or demanding day care centers in Baptist churches in their Maidenforms, or even prosecuting their well-meaning rapists, while posing in a lacy bra, to suggest "they crave passion."
They may start protesting the wearing of bras altogether. I can see the ads now: gals in protesting the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, proudly showing off their Maidenform bras, with the caption: "I dreamed I burned my bra at the Miss America pageant, in my Maidenform bra."