Our thanks to Jonathan Wiltshire, a supporter and donor, for emailing us the following this morning. It was a private communication, but we thought it worth publishing, and he’s kindly given us permission to do so:
“A couple of things have struck me recently. The recent ‘Leading Ladies’ ad campaign from M&S which kicked off this August http://www.styleateveryage.com/2013/08/m-autumwinter-campaign-britians-leading.html shows, in my opinion, horribly contrived image of supposedly powerful, ‘modern’ women in unnatural poses looking awkward and exhausted. The ad makers seem to want to project an aspirational image of women as powerful, or more powerful, than men. The last thing any of these women look is particularly feminine. Look at the bizarre settings too. Why these? Most of us live in homes, not in fields, or on rivers or in abandoned warehouses. I can’t help thinking that this is the ultimate fusion of feminist ideology and kitsch consumerism. The ad, of course, rolls out the usual bunch of elite, well-appointed, wealthy and privileged women from the world of culture and the arts who are miles above, socially and economically, the majority of ordinary females.
I think it was Karen Straughen (GirlWritesWhat) who suggested that women aren’t unhappy and ashamed of their femininity because of patriarchy, but because of the bullying, dogmatic, over-indulged establishment feminists who tell them how they can and cannot express themselves. I see this more and more in culture now, the taken-for-granted militant feminism that seeks to police and control the representation of women, and men. The sad fact being, that young talented women don’t stand a chance of getting any artistic project off the ground and getting funding without endorsing the usual mind-bending dogmas that are the bread and butter of political elites. They just won’t be promoted or be seen as audience-friendly.
I don’t see much analysis of ideology within cultural production in the press. The mindset of these particular ad makers is rather clear to see, the more so for the strikingly odd, awkward and unnatural look of these women in the ads who appear, to my eyes, more like prisoners than free women at ease with their femininity.”