Ad Critique: Apparently gender binary is “the gold.”


CoverGirl promotes the idea that a successful woman is both strong and beautiful. While strength is a trait stereotypically associated with what Simone de Beauvoir calls the “Subject,” that is to say men, here it is attributed to the “Other,” women (33). On the surface, this advertisement empowers women. However, beauty and strength are accredited to success, implying that both are necessary. Strength in this depiction is correlated alongside beauty, which is almost exclusively reserved for women. That the advertisement is for cosmetics makes it more unlikely that being strong here is meant in a gender-universal sense. With that in mind, CoverGirl helps divide a characteristic into male and female subparts, not only keeping women and men separated, but also reinforcing the gender binary system.

de Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex: Introduction. New York: Routledge, 2003.


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