Photo of empowerful vodka originally uploaded at the New York Times.
The persistent feminization of unisex commodities certainly bodes well for Dude Nation; if every day weren’t already a big ole lap dance for patriarchy, I’d say they should book the Diamonds Cabaret and its lineup of prepubescent strippers for a giant Feminism’s-Goin’-Down pole-a-thon. Because the Empowerful Pink Marketing Juggernaut continues to cut a wide swath across the globe, and the meager cries of a few doddering spinster aunts are not enough to slow it down.
Cast your jaundiced eye upon this, a NY Times Fashion & Style piece about a new “women’s” vodka in Russia.
Recently, a new billboard has appeared [in Moscow], displaying a lavender-tinged bottle with a distinctive feminine shape, adorned in a white skirt billowing upward, à la Marilyn Monroe, to reveal the label, Damskaya.
“Between us girls,” is the catchphrase for this vodka intended for women, a marketing campaign as jarring as, say, a Super Bowl commercial for women’s Budweiser.
The vodka is apparently only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the pinkification of Russian enterprise. To wit:
Scores of seemingly unisex products, from cigarettes to juice, breakfast cereals and even mobile phone plans have adopted a feminine flare [sic]. A fleet of pink taxis with female drivers spares the women here the callous flirtation of male cabbies.
The greater the sex-based dimorphism in commercial products, the easier it is to rationalize sex-based social discrimination. For it is upon the supposed enormous differences between men and women that our culture bases its wide approval of the concept that women’s essence justifies our ghettoization in the sex caste.
The shape of the vodka bottle is “feminine” because it mimics what is popularly imagined to be the most important part of a sexbot: a headless hourglass torso. Note that the name of the vodka appears under the Marilyn Monroe skirt, just where you’d find that naughty Marilyn’s cooter! The bottle is “distinctive” because ordinary vodka bottles are sex-neutral — that is, they just look like bottles — which makes the Damskaya bottle — and the rational expectation that it will appeal to those Russian women who have gotten the sexbot memo — a replication in miniature of the patriarchal verdict on the nature of women.
Behold the neat trick. First, you make women act like simpletons, broodmares, janitors, mannequins, and sex slaves before you grant them social approval. You call this behavior “femininity” and explain that it is their essential nature, and that any deviation from the program will be punished. Then you infantilize and ridicule the ones who get it right, and vilify and abuse the ones who get it wrong (you can also vilify and abuse the ones who get it right, because, let’s be honest; the world is your oyster).
With so much riding on it, whether femininity is performed right or wrong is an issue of enormous concern to women. That’s where the Empowerful Pink Marketing Juggernaut comes in. They package femininity, changing it a bit every so often so that the old version eventually becomes obsolete, and sell it to women as insurance against getting it wrong. This pink capitalist enterprise has the dual effect of diverting women’s income back to the male-dominated megatheocorporatocracy, while simultaneously reinforcing women’s investment in the bogus feminine identity and marking (with pink, the color of female infancy) the objects tainted with girl-cooties. The woman festooned with pink accessories, therefore, may be easily identified from a distance as a friend to Dude Nation.
Femininity, in fact, can’t even be practiced without stuff (which is one way of debunking the argument that it is an inherited sex trait). It is simply not possible for a woman without makeup and deodorant and lingerie and kitten heels and diet pills and clothes without pockets and anti-wrinkle cream that promises “glowing skin” and self-help books explaining the best ways to suck up to men and jewelry and razors and tweezers and lemon-scented cleaning products and boxes of Lean Cuisine in the freezer — all stuff that must be bought — to be fully feminine.
Femininity — selling it, doing it, approving of it, pinking it, drinking it — is antifeminist, fool.