This 2014 advertisement for GoldieBlox, a company that makes engineering toys for girls, seeks to encourage more girls to go into engineering and related fields, as opposed to only focusing on playing as or becoming “princesses.” The video opens with a girl wearing a white lab coat and butterfly wings over a lavender dress, holding a frying pan and egg, saying, “this is your brain.” She puts the egg on a conveyer belt and the egg travels past a scene with vanity counters and makeup chairs in the background. Her voice says, “this is your brain on princess,” and the egg pauses and is “made up,” with eye shadow, eyelashes, blush, lipstick, a wig, highlights, and a tiara. The made up egg then continues to travel along the conveyer belt past a post it note with a message on it: “at age 7, girls begin to lose confidence in math and science,” and then moves past another note, “at age 13, over half of all girls are unhappy with their bodies.” The egg then falls off the conveyer belt. As the egg slowly falls, the girl’s voice is heard saying, “This is your brain on engineering,” right as the falling egg is caught by a basket on a small Ferris wheel with another note on it: “engineering jobs are growing faster than all other jobs in the U.S.” The egg travels through the Ferris wheel and up an elaborate zip line and mini rollercoaster, passing another note, “female engineers earn 33% more than women in other fields,” and “only 13% of engineers are women.” The egg’s journey ends as it disappears into a small building, where there is a cracking sound and a baby chick appears through the open door, next to another post it note that reads: “girls are more than just princesses…they are our greatest resource.” The girl from the beginning of the commercial is seated nearby, picks up the chick, and asks, “any questions?”
The First Moon Party is a viral online advertisement created by the feminine care company, Hello Flo. The company sends women a monthly care package with related menstrual supplies such as tampons and other gifts and goodies, including candy. The video offers a comical take on traditional feminine hygiene commercials, in which a pre teen is angry because she is the last of her friends to get her period, and therefore decides to fake it. She attempts to trick her mother by painting red “cherrylicious” nail polish onto a pad, but her mother, who immediately sees through the lie, throws her daughter a surprise “first moon party.” Grandparents, friends, and other family members arrive at the party where there are a variety of activities, including ovary (apple) bobbing, “pin the pad on the period,” and a uterus piñata. The daughter becomes extremely mortified, learns her lesson, and is given a Hello Flo period starter kit.
In this back-to-school commercial, the Sephora cosmetic company promotes its line of Hello Kitty products. A female student appears bored and disinterested in her studies, as text appears on screen: "Studying is more fun when glasses come with glamor." Much to her delight, the girl opens her desk to unveil a plethora of Hello Kitty brand cosmetics. Soon, she lets her hair down, changes into a black catsuit, erases mathematical formulas from the chalkboard and searches out a fashionable scarf from her bookshelf, which she fashions into a bow. The commercial ends with a title card stating, "Pretty Smart. Hello Kitty," along with a checklist of Hello Kitty cosmetic products that make up a "Back to School Beauty List."
The reality television series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo premiered on TLC in 2012. The show follows the life of a seven-year-old child beauty pageant participant -- Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson -- along with her mother June Shannon, father Mike Thompson, and her three older sisters. Filmed in the family's rural hometown of McIntyre, Georgia, the show has been a huge success with American audiences. In this clip, "Mamma" June is making Alana's favorite recipe: sketti (i.e. spaghetti) with ketchup and butter sauce. The popularity of Honey Boo Boo raises important questions about media’s depictions of class, race and family life in modern America.
This video shows a group of young African American kids, aged 6 to 13, from Ferguson, MO speaking candidly and sarcastically about the issues in their community in light of the 2014 Ferguson, MO riots and ongoing tension between the mostly black community and the mostly white law enforcement, ignited over the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. After shoplifting from a convenience store, Brown was walking with his friend when they were stopped by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, who had been notified of the robbery. An altercation ensued, and Wilson fatally shot the unarmed teenager. This incident spotlighted ongoing, systemic racial profiling and racial discrimination in Ferguson, and prompted larger conversations about stop and frisk laws around the nation. In the video, the kids all wear t-shirts that say, “Racism is not over. But I’m over racism,” and highlight the ignorance that white people often have over the topic of racism, using phrases such as, “Is racism still a thing?” The kids answer, “Just because Beyonce is on your playlist, and you voted for Obama, it doesn’t mean our generation has seen the end of racist drama.” The kids go on to present statistics about systemic racial discrimination, such as stop-and-frisk policies and job discrimination. This video, from the activist site fckh8.com, uses kids and a lighthearted tone to contrast with the heavy subject matter. In doing so, the video exposes and pokes fun at the racial issues, particularly between whites and blacks, and America’s lack of acknowledgement over issues that clearly still exist. At the end, a white man comes on screen and says that the first step to combatting racism is acknowledging it.