Sunday, May 20, 2007

I feel bad about my shampoo bottle *

I have a bottle of shampoo that is giving me feminist/ethnic reconciliation problems. It's special curl-enhancing shampoo (I know, curl-enhancing shampoo?!! What the heck!!?? I bought it by accident, okay? Thinking it was my curl cream. And was too embarrassed to return it). It's by a company called Bumble & bumble, and here's what it says (besides curl-enhancing shampoo/for fine to medium hair):


1) So having curly hair (or, perhaps more accurately for this product) desiring to have curly hair) makes one demure? A baby doll? A muse? A painting by Botticelli? Do no women with curly hair desire to be, say, powerful or kick-ass? Mature? Wise? None of the adjectives make me think of competence or power. All conjure images of helplessness (baby doll/ damsel), doing what they're told (demure) or only good for inspiring men to creativity (botticelli/muse).
2) What about women of color? Do they not have curly hair? Why is it that having curly hair must be associated with particular nationalities/ethnicities (nordic/english)? This I have a bit less problem with, since it's conceivable that African-American women would laugh at this product at being wholly unsuitable for their curls, and women with actually curly hair have no desire to enhance said curls. However, the english/nordic labels makes me feel like the curls are also supposed to be blonde (since botticelli's curly-headed Venus is, too), which I also have a problem with.

I have been using this product for a while (since before Lucy was born) and I've never been wild about the label, but it has been bothering me more and more. I think I've been reading a bit too much Betty Friedan. Or something.
I don't think I'm going to buy the product again (too expensive, anyway) but I am going to use up the bottles I have left. I'm too cheap not to. Maybe I'll say something to my hairstylist.
Help! I'm becoming like my old roomate's husband, unable to watch movies because of the exploitation of women! Help!

*Today's post title is a hidden reference to Nora Ephron's new book (I Feel Bad About My Neck). That I haven't read. I haven't read any of her books. Unless you count seeing Sleepless in Seattle or When Harry Met Sally. Which I guess I could, seeing as she wrote them, too.


writermeeg said...

This cracked me up, too! You are a great humorist.

First of all, I used to use that shampoo, too (when I had a steady income!), and still have a bottle under my sink. I freaked out about parabens when I was pregnant and switched to a different "natural-but-not-as-dreamy" shampoo, and now save B&B for special occasions when I want my hair to really bounce.

And, I've had the same thoughts about their marketing. Welcome to the world of "never able to turn it off" observance of our culture's crazy race/class/gender messages!! ;)

Lastly -- oh, you'd love Nora Ephron's early stuff. And I can't wait to talk about Peskowitz with you! :)

Heather said...

Oh, good. I'm glad I'm not the only crazy one.
and I'm glad I have a new commenting reader. Whoopee!