Sunsilk’s women don’t mind a little torture

There’s been much ado lately about sexism in the media (Heineken’s woman = keg campaign) and sexism and violence in the media (Captivity’s overall themes and its banned ad effort). So it’s tough to know how Sunsilk’s new commercial will be received. On the one hand, it lampoons and subverts recent trends, using horror cliches (a bound victim, apparent torture devices) to point out that women torture themselves to perfect their hair. On the other hand, well, there’s a bound victim, apparent torture devices and the implicit message that “torture” is OK as long as the client’s products repair the damage and great-looking hair is the end result. There’s even a “plot twist” of sorts that’s questionable, considering its “Women do it to themselves” connotation. Perhaps the key question is: Exactly who is she going through all this for? The spot gives us a clue: The reassuring therapist in the final scene is, predictably, a man.

—Posted by David Gianatasio