Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Crest White Strips Can Suck It

Like it's devil twin the Diet Industry Empire (DIE), the Evil Empire of Anti-Aging Products (EEAAP) has been tenderly sinking both claw and tooth into the pocketbooks of American women for a long time. We have both capitalism and sexist beauty standards to thank for DIE's and EEAAP's success stories. Jars and jars of snake oil sold daily. Jams and jellies composed of toxic sludge. I wonder how tall the mountain of purchased anti-aging products would be? How many dollars have women spent on this stuff? Is this actually an evil plot to re-route women's spending power into pointless jars of vanity products -- the myth being that beauty/youth provided women in this country with more power than cold, hard cash?
That's just the conspiracy theory side of me running with it. You can say I'm reaching. Whatevs.

[But really, how many dollars spent advertising fountain of youth products?
And what should we make of the west's fixation on preserving youth when millions go to bed hungry? ]

These days, I have a real bone to pick with
Crest White Strips. That shit is evil, not just because of the stuff they sell, but because of the way they sell it. Have you seen those commercials? That "I'll Never Tell" shit? They're heinous. The premise is this: an affluent white woman who weighs three pounds and dresses like Kristin Cavallari coyly asks questions like: "When I was in middle school, I was into the latest dance craze. Was it the hustle or the electric slide?" Other questions include "did I like bell bottoms or penny loafers?" and "did I like David Cassidy of Ralph Macchio?" Yuck. Yuck. Double Yuck. I'm just waiting for the one where they ask "I was into partying. Did I like cocaine or crack?" Anyway, the idea is that we can't really guess what trend they were into because they look soooo young. Is she 30 or 45? Who knows 'cause she reminds us repeatedly that "I'll never tell."

And what the hell is in a crest white strip? Bleach? Yeah, I wanna suck on that so I can fool people about my age because my teeth are so white. It's stupid.

And why is this product suddenly gendered? Last I checked, teeth whitening products were for everybody. Why is it all about women now? Huh, Crest? Why? They've even got Carmindy, the make-up artist from TLC's What Not to Wear, assaulting women in Central Park and telling them to wear blush, lip gloss, and Crest White Strips. Icky.

Crest white strips. Another way to keep the people down.

I do, however, like The White Stripes.


Jenny said...

lol. i love crest white strips! they taste really nasty, though.

Laurelin said...

Brilliant post, Femme Feral! I think you've got patriarchal capitalism cornered there.

Why can't women age anyway? Why should we all have to look young?

porkmuffin said...

amen, sister, amen. sorry to bring up a 'Friends' reference, but i loved the episode where they make fun of teeth whitening when Ross bleaches his teeth and they are so bright they practially glow. i use whitening toothpaste. it doesn't work. it's just another scam to get my money. and here i was thinking i was one of the only women immune to the whole beauty product buying thing. shame on me, shame on Crest.

Little Sister said...

To my newest sister-in-law. As we all know, I'm the shameless consumer of the family. During a mid-holiday-season visit to Target, I threw Crest Premium whitestrips into my overflowing cart and got all excited about how beautiful I'd look with my movie star teeth. But they tasted like crap and made me drool, and the whitened effect lasted for, like, a day. WTF. And I don't need to look younger. I have trouble convincing people that I'm 24 and not 17.

zp said...

i always thought there was something creepy about white strips. grouping them with the evils of dieting and anti-aging cosumer products makes sense to me too.

plus, they are a cosmetic response to something that probably should be understood as a health maintenence issue. like destructive cycles of dieting to be skinny as opposed to life-long fitness to maintain a physically and psychologically healthy weight; or worrying about about wrinkles and hair color but not calcium or strength or menapause . . .

i know many people think that a lot of the whole orthodontics craze was a scam, but shouldn't we all just have jobs that provide dental care (or at least allow us to afford regular dental care, or maybe we could have national dental insurance!) so we could get nice, regular, thorough dental cleanings every year or so? i mean, do i have to be my own dentist now?

And now, a word from our sponsor (from the musical, Annie, or maybe just from the film):

S-M-I-L-E ! !
Who cares what they're wearing,
On mainstreet or saville row?
It's what you wear from ear to ear (to ear)
And not from head to toe,
That ma-a-a-a-tters.

So senator,
So janitor,
So long for awhile.
You're never fully dressed
Though you may wear the best,
You're never fully dressed
Without a smile.

Elyce Rae Helford said...

Nicely done, as always. Focusing on women in particular with this relatively inexpensive product seems to me a way of saying "Can't afford a face lift? Try a teeth lift?" I love British spoofs of American obsession with white teeth -- in my limited Brit TV vocabulary, it goes back to The Young Ones in the mid-80s, predating the white strips but not the hideous caps so many actors wore back then.

Why must women always look young, laurelin? Because, of course: [phallogocentrism on] Men get more distinguished as they age, wrinkle, and enbalden. Women, by contrast, get haggard, undesirable, and worthless. It's just nature! [phallogocentrism off]

I try hard to balance feeling good about myself (which does involve some youth fetishization sometimes, I fear -- hell, I don't want to look like a soccer mom or a cartoon grandma) and not giving in entirely. I don't buy the post-feminist crap about being sexy-as-powerful unless your version of sexy looks far enough from Hollywood norms to have some legitimacy.

Keep fighting the power (and the bleached teeth syndrome),


femme feral said...

thanks for the comments, friends.

Oh ZP, your reference to Annie brings back many memories. I used to coerce my grandmother's poor dog into playing the role of Sandy as I sang "tomorrow" at the top of my lungs. My family STILL makes fun of me for that shit. In fact, it was while singing "Tomorrow" that a family member first told me to shut up. And no, I didn't listen.

rabfish said...


Anonymous said...

Jesus christ, you honestly need to just shut the fuck up. This is quite possibly the lamest blog I've ever read. Good job on monitoring capitalism through attacking a beauty project. You win!

Anonymous said...

And yeah, I meant product.