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Wait, How's That Racist/Sexist? {Summer's Eve "Hail to the V" Ads}

Summer’s Eve “Hail to the V” Ads

Wow…this ad campaign is offensive on a number of levels.  My first view of the ads came after reading a post this morning on Wise Latinas Linked.  This is a series of ads that are directed at women in the attempt to sell feminine hygiene products from Summer’s Eve.  Why are they offensive?  Beyond the misogyny that runs rampant in each of their ads (some more than others), the ads also poke fun at some popular and offensive stereotypes about women of color.  Because I’m also a feminist, I will be pointing out instance of racism and misogyny in the ads and you can decide for yourself if you agree.  I think that the ads pretty much speak for themselves though.

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The ads are split into three separate “racial groups”; White, Latina and Black.  The ads target each group in their own “special” way, and it’s interesting that the ad directed at White women points out their desire to “vadazzle” their vaginas with luxury spa treatments (ridiculous!), while the ads directed at Latinas and Black women are filled with more unflattering and offensive stereotypes.

Stereotypes in the video marketed to Latinas:

  • Tacky and obnoxious Latina accent that sounds horribly forced and stereotypical.
  • The giving birth thing is what Latinas are all about?  So what, they’re baby machines?
  • Leopard thong?  So, Latinas are “sexually adventurous”?  This seems to play into the idea that Latinas are “exotic” and “sexually promiscuous”.
  • Latinas have “seen it all”?  Ok, so just how “easy” are they trying to imply Latinas are.

Stereotypes in the video marketed to African American women:

  • Sassy “Black” voice, because apparently, all black women say, “Mmmm-hmm” and “Wowza”.
  • Summer’s Eve thinks that Black women spend too much time on their hair and “blow off” feminine hygiene?
  • According to the video, without these products, Black women are dry and itchy “down under”.
  • Black women are apparently spending a lot of time out “clubbing” and hooking up after, so extra measures are needed to “stay fresh”.

View the controversial videos here.

Just as offensive though, was the misogynistic representation of womens’ vaginas.  Their logo has morphed into a mock vagina with a visible slit down the middle and throughout the ads a vertical hand is seen talking as if it were a vaginal opening.  This kind of visual could probably be found on Jimmy Kimmel Live previously, but apparently, some individuals seem to believe that it’s a positive and “empowering” representation of a woman’s anatomy.

This all coming after their rather controversial ad, telling women “How to ask for a raise,” which of course, includes “Feminine Wash” as the number one tip.  Their series of ads is offensive because they imply that women are dirty and need to “clean more often” in order to avoid embarrassing situations…yeah, even at work…not just when “hooking up”.  You know, they could be targeting men on this same point, but apparently, marketing to women and playing on their insecurities is more profitable.  The fact is that most women will never need these products and the ads will mislead more women into believing that cleansing products are necessary in order to “feel fresh” and “avoid embarrassment”.  Give me a break!  Why is it that everyone is always trying to make women feel ugly and dirty?


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  • GreengaGirl
    July 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I think that has to be the most offensive thing I have seen in a while.

  • Me and the Mexican
    July 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    OMGosh!  These commercials are ridiculous!  Offensive and RIDICULOUS!  

  • Ezzy Guerrero-Languz
    July 23, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Do you know that I'd never really looked at their logo before you pointed it out? Their ads are obnoxious and a total "turn-off." Again, what agencies do these people use and how do they test their campaigns before going to market?!

    • Chantilly Pati&ntild
      July 31, 2011 at 2:22 am

      I know, can you believe that logo!?  Wow!  I mean, they went all out to play up the vagina theme!  Seriously, I think this happened mostly because of the lack of diversity at that firm…both in POC and women…

  • Jen Marshall Duncan
    July 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    These ads are really disgusting. All I can say is that they must have been created by men! I think the product was probably created by men as well, because it just flat-out isn't good for women's bodies. Misogynistic and racist to the Nth degree and very annoying!

  • Disgusted
    July 31, 2011 at 6:57 am

    It’s not just racism that’s an issue. It’s sexism, plain and simple. I understand what they thought they were doing, but come on. How can you be that stupid?

    The recent ‘Hail to the V’ commercials send a message that the only reason men like women is for sex. To be honest, maybe a lot of men are like that, but a lot of men are also NOT like that, and I seriously doubt most women actually WANT that message sent, the idea that that’s all we’re good for. 

    These commercials make me extremely angry, they are sexist to BOTH genders, and I sincerely hope at least some people agree with this opinion, because otherwise I wonder how many others are perpetuating this disgusting idea.

    • Chantilly Pati&ntild
      July 31, 2011 at 2:24 am

      So true!  Thank you for the comment.  I've written two more posts on the topic since this one and those focus more on the sexism portion, which Summer's Eve and their partners are still refusing to apologize for.  Disgusting display…

  • Chantilly Pati&ntild
    August 17, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    You're weird…lol.  But, you're not that far off…back in the day, most of the classic vehicles we not enjoy today are modeled after women's bodies.  Somehow, I don't think a penis car would fly…lol…but the objectification of women is considered "A-ok".