Boycotting Unilever

ImageThere has been a lot of brohouha about the Lynx campaigns over the last few years. They’re sexist, racist and ageist. And it matters.

I’m sick of it and am going to boycott Unilever.

Some of you might be wondering why women like me make such a big deal about it. It’s not because I’m hyper-critical or because I like pointing out people doing the ‘wrong’ thing. It’s because such a culture has real impacts on others.Image

Nobody in her or his right mind would think that smelling Lynx on a teenage boy should be a problem. It’s not.

The problem is, exploiting boys’ need to feel sexually powerful over girls and to be superior to them in the senses portrayed by the advertisement means that the underlying ideals that fuel sexual and racial violence, domestic violence and skewed economical conditions (eg over 50’s people cannot get good jobs) are validated and extended. These beliefs and attitudes persist endlessly until someone or something challenges them. But if the entitled person already believes they are superior to other genders, races etc., the challenge will merely cause more violence, and the violence or control reinforces the entitlement, and on it goes. So we have to start young.Image

Complaining about Lynx will not get you anywhere because they won’t care. The campaign is fuelled by people getting outraged. For more information about how the outrage fuels the brand owner’s objectives, see Lynx hits the jackpot: sexist, racist and ageist.

I don’t think any of my friends or acquaintances is in the target market, but all of us have to live in that culture of sexism and objectivication of women, and all of us have somebody who is hurt by it. Including the boys themselves.

For anyone interested in boycotting Unilever products, here’s the list. For a great explanation about why one should point the finger at the company and not just the brand managers, see this article in The Age.

Personal care

Dove
Impulse
Lifebuoy
Lux
Lynx
Pears
Rexona
SunSilk
Vaseline

Food

Bertolli
Bushells
Choysa
Continental
Flora pro-activ
Flora
Lanchoo
Lipton
Raguletto
Streets

Home care

Domestos
Drive
Jif
OMO
Persil
Surf

Unilever’s pretty text about their social and environmental concerns, predictably, does not include anything about commitment to social good. Unilever has attracted a lot of criticism from environmentalists – so much that I’m sure a quick google search will give you a good idea – but I would anticipate that the measures they are taking in the environmental area fall well short of redressing any ills. But that is not my fight to fight today.

Happy shopping!

Update: Collective shout is running a campaign over the Christmas period to draw sales away from exploitative brands and reward brands which promote healthy self-image to girls and boys. See:

Cross ‘em off your Xmas list: Collective Shout releases blacklist of corporate sexploitation offenders

 

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From Chris Brown’s verified account….it was pretty promptly deleted – Imgur

Sick of Chris Brown and his type. May they go down in a blaze of syphilis or something like that.

From Chris Brown’s verified account….it was pretty promptly deleted – Imgur.

Sperm and satirical legislation

The subject-matter of this article is hilarious: legislation that answers the unbelievably long list of amendments through the US’s states that inhibits in sometimes ridiculous ways the right of women to control what happens to their bodies.

To cap it off, women legislators in the US are responding to misogynist laws passed in the US in recent times by drafting and presenting bills that invade men’s privacy or erode their rights to the same extent as the new laws affect women.

Some examples with thanks to good.is include:

  • sperm “equal in the eyes of the government and be subject to the same laws and regulations as any other dependent minor and be protected against abuse, neglect or abandonment by the parent or guardian” (Loretta Walsh, Washington, Delaware)
  • mandating rectal exams and cardiac stress tests for men seeking erectile dysfunction medication (Virginia State Senator Janet Howell)
  • outlawing most vasectomies because they leave “thousands of children… deprived of birth.” (Georgia House Representative Yasmin Neal)
  • compelling men to undergo psychological screenings before getting prescriptions for impotence medication, arguing, “We must advocate for the traditional family.” (Ohio State Senator Nina Turner)

Read the whole piece in its entirety, as satirical legislation is becoming a legitimate form of protest in some areas which are dominating by satire-worthy entitlement. Props to Nona Willis Aronowitz,
Associate Editor at www.good.is.

There is no class of woman who is ‘naive, vulnerable and easy to manipulate’

I am a huge fan of Catherine Deveny’s work and she and other Australian feminists have helped me enormously personally. I can’t begin to think about the kind of abuse and threats she deals with every day. But…

Today in her answer to the misogynists and abuser-supporters, she echoed an idea that many Australian believe is true, but which causes a lot of extra misery and re-victimisation of women survivors and resisters:

“Most don’t even consider it violence as they are chosen as partners by bullies and creeps precisely because these women are naive, vulnerable, easy to manipulate and have been convinced abuse is their fault.”

This is completely wrong, and validates the idea (deeply embedded in the Australian psyche) that there is a class of woman who is so stupid as to not know they are being abused and who got into a relationship with an abuser because they are “naive, vulnerable and easy to manipulate”. I realise she used the words, ‘chosen by bullies and creeps’, but she still managed to make it their fault.

Research has looked over and over again at the victims of domestic violence to find out what they did as a group to cause them to become victims. They keep coming up with not much, except perhaps greater amounts of empathy. What research HAS been able to come up with is a clear picture of attitudes, behaviours and other factors that increase the likelihood of a man becoming an abuser. In other words, as a group, the abusers are much more homogenous than the victims. But because patriarchy isn’t that interested in taking this up in mainstream media, we’re stuck in a kind of grey area of victim blame.

More later – for the misogynists. Have sources for the above, from people in universities, guys… Can’t feed children and rant at the same time, although am trying hard. Once again, thank you in general, Catherine.