What do women over 35 want?
While, I am sure, many men in general as well as (m)ad men in particular have wondered about that since the beginning of time and commercials, this question has been imposed on me recently by a huge, very hard to overlook billboard in Cincinnati. First, I tried to ignore it but it seemed to be everywhere shouting at me: Look, this question is also meant for you (at least in the very near future)!
However, this billboard did not bother me because it reminded me of my age, what got me was the answer it offered. So what do women over 35 want? According to this ad, they want weight loss, libido and … hormones! Because, hormones are the solution to every woman’s problem! They make women over 35 look younger and they enhance our libido. Behind this very superficial answer however, lies a deeper message. A message that made me use words that are not appropriate to repeat on this blog every time I drove by. The real message is: Women over 35 are old. That’s the brutal reality of our fast-paced, forever young world. If you are a man, on the other hand, age just makes you more powerful, and for men, more power makes you more attractive. Which leads me to the other bitter part of the message on the billboard: Women over 35 are not only old, they are also less attractive. They gain weight and they loose their libido, their sexual appetite. Which is exactly, according to the billboard, why they need help and hormones. Women need to stay young, skinny and hot. This implies that this is the only true purpose for a woman. Stay young, skinny and sexy in order to get a man, or even better, a husband. Clearly, once a woman is old (over 35), this becomes more difficult, as they cannot compete with the beauty, the body and the libido of a 20 year old any more. Following this logic, if you are a woman over 35 and have not been able to reach the two most important goals in your life (stay pretty and find a man), you need to take some serious measures. Take action, take hormones. So let’s all get together on the happy hormone cottage to make sure our life won’t be a failure.
I am deeply offended by this ad. It reduces women to objects, all that matters is the exterior. It tells us where our place is in society: next to a man (or better: behind a man) while looking pretty and being quiet. And don’t worry: if you’re not quite there yet, there are always hormones that can help you. Stepford Wives alarm!!!
I am offended by this ad. But am I surprised? In a world where we discuss Michelle Obama’s upper arms and her favorite designers instead of her career as a lawyer and writer; in a world where a 50 year old male Hollywood actor still gets to play the romantic lead role next to his 20 year old female lover, while the 35 year old female actor gets to play the mother in law, in a world where Kim Kardashian (who refuses to breastfeed her baby because it interferes with her Botox treatment) is a role model to young girls … in this world, I am offended but I am not surprised.
P.S. I wanted to be fair and not just blindly blame the makers of the billboard so I googled the Happy Hormone Cottage. It is actually a place for women with problems before/during/after their menopause. Who da thunk? But ladies, seriously, if you honestly care about women, there’s gotta be a better way to advertise that!!!
P.P.S. Today, after I finished writing this blog entry, I drove by the billboard again and it seems like the Happy Hormone Cottage team had a change of heart (or they got sued by an angry feminist blogger). Either way, they changed their billboard to: