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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spring 2008 Graffiti Project: P.S. Problem Solved? One Class's Approach To Revealing "The Beauty Myth"


Extending the principles and ideas discussed in their Gender and Popular Culture class, the students created a banner that questions and redefines the beauty myth.

Based on the Graffiti Women book by Nicholas Ganz, the banner began with a Victoria's Secret print advertisement with items on the side pointing to parts of a naked women's body that could be improved with those products.

To change the advertisement, the students of the class took items that could be purchased and tiled them across the naked women's body to uncover the beauty myth in a way that the class felt appropriate.

The project title was then chosen as “P.S. Problem Solved?: Beauty Myth (Un)Covered,” in order to show the ways in which the beauty industry tries to define the perfect women and the costs it takes to live up to that standard. The class hopes that it will be kept as a constant reminder of the chilling effects of the beauty industry and the imposing views that it places on the minds of US society.

Spring 2008 Graffiti Project: Taking an "Axe" to the "Campaign for Real Beauty"


In early April Professor Gamble approached her Gender and Pop Culture class with the option of designing a collaborative student-led project, based upon the book Graffiti Women: Street Art from Five Continents by Nicholas Ganz. In an effort to apply this text, and the information studied concerning gender representation in advertising, the class developed a project in which they challenged the negative messages sent about women through a popular Axe Body Spray advertisement.

The Axe Body Spray advertisement objectified women by isolating their body parts and writing sexist remarks in relation to each of them, based on a chauvinistic perspective. The purpose of the ad was to make men think that the spray is linked to a man’s ability to attract women. The students developed a response to this ad by creating new remarks for each woman. For example, in the place of the remark, “Looks like it’s been a while,” is the remark, “Looks like it’s been a while since I’ve met a decent man.”
The project began with the students developing their own idea for the project. As a class they worked together in teams to decide on everything from the design, to supplies, to college relations, to how the project would be managed. The students came together to create the final product of a banner displaying their reinvention of the original Axe Body Spray Ad. Now, the banner is on display in the Brower Student Center.

The class intends for the banner to inspire students and staff to think critically about gender representations in advertising that we unconsciously accept on a daily basis. The students of this Gender and Pop Culture class hope that the community will appreciate this reinvention as much as they enjoyed creating it.

Photos and write-up by:

Rachel Fetterman, Casey Eriksen, Christine Luettchau

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