Wow pretty lady what a big…smile you have

At first glance, I honestly thought there was nothing wrong with it.

Four incredibly gorgeous women, dressed in bikinis, having fun at the beach and briefing travelers on aircraft safety for Air New Zealand’s latest in-flight safety video.

So why were presumably smart and well-educated women, including Hilary Barry, Pam Corkery and Deborah Russell taking exception to this bit of fun?

“Air New Zealand’s new safety video has made me very angry,” Hilary Barry tweeted.   “Shame on you and shame on the message you are perpetuating.”

Of course the media took that and ran with it – but no one bothered asking Hilary Barry for her exact reasoning behind her view.

Maybe I’m the only thicko that didn’t get it instantly, and mulled over it the entire day, questioning my beliefs and what I was missing.

I mean it’s the whole undies, undies – togs, togs argument right?

These beautiful swimsuit models are at the beach in the Cook Islands, where I’m guessing swim wear is appropriate attire, regardless of breast size.

Yes, it’s an airplane safety video, but it’s also promoting the Cook Islands as a holiday destination, and advertisers have been selling tropical island vacations with shots of perfectly-proportioned sun-kissed beach babes clad in swim wear forever.

I mean, the girls look like they’re having so much fun, and seem so NICE and friendly, so relateable.  And gosh don’t the Cook Islands look beautiful? I really must get there one day.

But something deeper lay beneath those sparkling blue waters and adorable smiles, something that I wasn’t even aware of, because I’ve become so accustomed to beautiful creatures selling me all sorts of messages, ideas, experiences and…stuff.

Today, women in many countries are entitled to an education, a driver’s licence, to vote, buy and own property, and earn seats in council chambers, parliament and board rooms.

Despite this, we are still not equal with our male counterparts.  A lot more work is required to protect more women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment and assault, while continuing to promote economic equality.

Many will argue that we have equal opportunity and that special allowances would only negate the purpose of equality.

This may be true, but the pervasive attitude remains, that women are inferior.  Of course no one walks around saying this out loud, no one to my knowledge is writing a book promoting the idea and it’s not something kids are taught in schools, and I hope, not by their parents.

But it’s still there.  I read an interesting article last month, explaining  how calling women “bitch”, “slut” and “crazy” is in many cases a verbal cop out for men.  The article is written by a man who was attempting to improve his attitude towards and his relationship with women.

Be honest now.  How many times have you heard women  referred to as sluts or whores in every day conversation?

Or ladies, how many times have you been at your wits end with frustration, and been called crazy for expressing too much anger, sadness or passion?

And hands up who’s been called a bitch for doggedly making a point, sticking up for yourself or asserting your opinion a little too acutely?

No one has taught us to feel that way, but it’s there all around us.  In the never-ending stream of video clips, advertisements, movies, television programmes and magazines that we unconsciously ingest every single day, dictating how we ought to look, and behave.

We have no choice, there’s no escaping it, unless you live like a hermit, and that’s not progress.

But if we start questioning what we’re seeing, and the messages we’re  delivered perhaps we’ll begin to view the world, it’s people, ourselves and what’s really important, a little more clearly.

Maybe this knowledge will even set us free from chasing impossible ideals, and result in living a happier life.

I hope this piece, which is the result of much soul-searching and discussion, encourages you to re-think your paradigms and what you accept as normal.  Or am I way off the mark?  Please share your thoughts and tell me what you think.

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5 thoughts on “Wow pretty lady what a big…smile you have

  1. This is written in the view of equality and not the Air New Zealand safety video.
    Equality- what is equal in this life and is there such a thing when it comes to the human race and for that matter any animal species??
    Is it fair that in New Zealand we enjoy no matter what your position from poor to rich, you are in the top 10% of wealthy in the world?
    Is it fair or equal that a rich kid grows up with rich parents while a poor kid grows up with poor ones? Is it fair if the poor kid leads a happier life than the rich kid?
    Are males/females equal among their respective selves? In a male world there is the unequal- the dominance of each other, I suppose not that much difference to a pride of lions or a pack of wolves!! I am sure the female world is similar? If things are not even equal with in one’s own gender what are the changes of it being equal between the sexes?
    Is it not true that while woman are inferior in some aspects of life to their male counter parts, males are just as inferior in other aspects to their female mates.
    Aren’t company’s just another business selling a product, they say sex sells, would it not be unfair to except some morally high companies to not use this to their advantage while others can make free use of it?
    Would it be fair to demonise good looking people making the most of the cards they were dealt in life, while the ones with the brains freely plays hers or his cards to their best advantage. Is it not fair for one to be allowed to work to their strengths (I’m not saying good looking people are not smart).
    Rich or poor, black or white, good looking or not so good looking, happy or unhappy, educated or uneducated, male or female, Australian or a kiwi, are any of these things equal or unequal or are they just what they are? I suppose it could depend how you view them.
    This world is not on an equal level and never will be, the grass can seam greener in someone else’s patch but is that barbwire fence worth negotiating, maybe ones vision is blurred by the boundary fence, maybe that grass is not so green after all.
    Maybe I’m way off the mark, missing the point.

  2. There’s a basic problem in the feminist argument; and it’s that the world is FULL of women who are never going to think that way. Feminists can argue till they’re blue in the face about why this kind of commercial shouldn’t be promoted; but they’re never going to be able to stop the dolly-birds who want only to have their gorgeous bodies and lovely faces seen. There’s a never-ending spiral in terms of time: in the length of time it takes to teach one generation of women not to let themselves be exploited, the next will long since have grown up and willingly exploited themselves!
    Frankly, I don’t think it’s ever going to be possible to get the message across.

    • Thank you for stopping by again MR! I do agree with what you say. It’s a vicious cycle isn’t it? The reason why a lot of women dress up to please others rather than wanting to look good for their own satisfaction, is because media would have us all believe the way to acceptance/happiness/opportunity/fame/fortune/success is by looking good and having all the latest accessories and gadgets. Too many people pick that up and run with it, rather than questioning the true meaning behind these advertisements – which is financial gain for a few people.

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