Call me a prude, but there’s a saucy ad campaign running in the métro at the moment which really puts me off my croissants first thing in the morning.
The Galéries Lafayette department store has been working with photographer Jean-Paul Goude (think Vanessa Paradis on a trapeze for Coco de Chanel) and Corsican supermodel Laetitia Casta for the past couple of years. Personally I’m not a big fan of the campaign, which has shown an elongated, photoshopped-to-within-an-inch-of-her-life Casta (or a body double with Casta’s head, it depending on who you choose to believe) in various states of undress, disguised as a man, and giving a piggyback to Henri Salvadore. The Galéries have undeniably forged themselves a distinctive brand identity, whereas the other department stores – La Samaritaine, Le Bon Marché, BHV and Printemps don’t do a great deal to differentiate themselves from one another. But what I don’t need, at 8am when I am feeling a bit queasy wearing my heavy winter coat in a packed and steaming métro carriage, is Casta/some Brazilian floozy’s rear, liberally greased with baby oil, mooning down at me in every station. I shan’t be shopping there this Christmas.
Obviously having lived in France for some time now, I have had time to get used to the ubiquitous breast and bottom shots. Show me a shower gel/moisturising cream TV ad which does not show a lady rubbing a creamy lather on to her chest (full frontal or profile shot) and rounded buttocks (any shot permitted as long as the front bits are obscured by the aforementioned soap suds).
I am in two (or more) minds about how to react to this. On the one hand, using images of naked women to sell just about everything is wrong on so many levels. These people specialise in protesting against the sexual stereotyping of women by running counter campaigns; other protestors specialise in tagging sexist adverts on métro billboards and they have my full support.
On the other hand, at least the French are not a mass of contradictions. I wouldn’t want to live in the hypocritical climate of post-Nipplegate America. The French documentary ’90 minutes’ recently devoted an episode to prudishness in the US of A. It amazes me that in a country where Xtina can make a video like ‘dirrty’, a law was being submitted to a state legislature which sought to outlaw the wearing of visible g-strings with hipster trousers. This crime against decency would be punishable by a prison sentence. Now I’m not partial to visible g-strings, but these people are victims. Fashion retailers insist on manufacturing trousers cut in such a way that sitting down without mooning is impossible. What is a girl supposed to do?
I also wonder whether the readership of the Sun newspaper in the UK would be vastly reduced if L’Oréal were allowed to show a bit more flesh during advertising breaks. Would you still buy the Sun ‘for the sports pages’ then boys?
But tell me, am I the only
prude girl around here who finds the greasy bottom cleavage shot above a little bit unsavoury?