Monday, July 26, 2010

Verizon--Emblem of Girl Power?

Hey all,

So while being very productive at work and watching Bones on Hulu, this ad from Verizon came on. I've included the video below:

I'm torn on my thoughts about this advertisement. On one end, it screams for girl power, also racial equality. But the reason it's doing it, isn't to empower young women of all races, it's to get young women to buy their product.

This is where things get ugly. They are acknowledging injustices within our society, and blatantly exploiting them for profit. They talk about how "air" doesn't discriminate, well, I'm pretty positive phones don't discriminate, but the people on either end of them do. This message provides this false hope that this right wing corporation actually cares about their thoughts, ideas, and dreams regardless of gender, age, or race. News flash, Verizon couldn't care less about you, they just care about the money you shuffle into their hands.

The whole part about there not being discrimination based on if you're black or white is a load of crud too. What about all the racial variations inbetween? The majority of the women in this video were white--or at least had such pale skin it would be hard to distinguish any other racial identity unless you are really looking for it. I actually counted. There were 10 women who appeared to be straight up white, 2 women who could potentially be Asian-American, and 2 African American women (one of which who was used twice). I didn't see one woman with indicators of Hispanic, Indian, or Middle Eastern descent, not to mention the other races that weren't accounted for.

Why might that be? Because the Hispanics are stealing our resources and jobs, the Indians are stealing our jobs too because they "benefit" from outsourcing, and Middle Easterners want to blow us all up. It would be too controversial if you incorporated everyone, instead we'll stick to the binaries that keep us in this mess.

I think it's important to note that all of these women appear to be middle class. This sends a pretty distinct message, that the air DOES care if you're poor, because you can't afford to use it, so it doesn't like you. I think it's funny how Verizon sets it up so it seems like IT is the air. We need air to survive, to breathe. So if you're not represented in their short list of what they don't discriminate against, you're better off dead.

Also, the women of color spoke in a very typical white dialect, and had no markers of their racial identity except for the actual color of their skin. No wonder the air doesn't discriminate, all the women represented appear to have been socialized to appear and act white. I'm not trying to speculate, as I don't know the actual personal stories of the women in this commercial, but the way they are presented couldn't be any more white.

Overall, I think this commercial is a bunch of bologna. The solution to discrimination isn't getting your parents to switch cell phone carriers, and you will survive if you don't have Verizon. Wouldn't it be nice if ending hundreds of years of oppression could be solved by consumerism? I'm pretty sure it's that sort of capitalistic outlook that fuels oppression on a regular basis.

Peace, Love, and Real Girl Power,


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