Ad Critique: Girls Poop (But They Shouldn’t!)

This commercial provides an example of the social reinforcement of the institution of femininity. The narrator, a well-coiffed, feminine young woman in a 1940s-inspired party dress, promotes a product that conceals, as she describes it, “the subtle scent of a 300-cow dairy farm,” a clearly non-feminine phenomenon. She spends much of the commercial graphically and enthusiastically describing her own bowel movements–again, seemingly subverting a feminine gender norm. But while acknowledging, with great gusto, that girls do poop, the narrator repeatedly reminds us that they should pretend that they don’t: “how do you make the world believe … that you never poop at all?” By saying this, she suggests that women must adhere to feminine gender norms, despite how clearly those expectations are socially constructed.

Lorber, Judith. “The Social Construction of Gender.”

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