Mow The Lawn? –Oh Puhleeze

Tracey Barnett ©April 2009

Is it me or has modern womanhood suddenly become the university exam question from hell this week? Compare and contrast the following.

There is a commercial now on television that features a woman going to the beach, a hairdresser, and a manicurist with a beaver. The ad is for tampons. Mm-hmm.

Tricky euphemisms aside, the advertising agency said the fury friend was chosen because it was “catchy, visual and unique.” This is a family newspaper. I will not insert a joke here, though it’s killing me.

Although it was the most complained about commercial in Australia last year, so far only 30 Kiwis have contacted the Advertising Standards Authority. I believe 29 of them were Inuit fur trappers phoning in their distain from Beaverton, Oregon. The last one was probably my Mother, worried that the beaver suffered mistreatment by having to pose on a hot Australian beach. One gentle viewer thought it was a Wombat.

The truth is I laughed at that commercial because in comparison to an ad for a woman’s shaver now running in the UK, the menstruation-beaver combo is a delight.

In this feminine razor ad, a bevy of beauties in short outfits push pink lawnmowers and trim topiary bushes positioned between their legs, singing delightedly, “Mow the lawn! Mow it! Do it! Cut it! Trim it!” [Go to “Favourites” for the full ad.]

A black woman sings, “Some bushes are really big”. An Asian woman then puts her hand to her mouth and sings, “Some gardens are mighty small”. Women mow joyously across the screen, “Never feel untidy, just spruce up your Aphrodite. And mow the lawn!”

I now know why acid reflux products were invented. Where does one’s nausea begin? The ethnic references? The pink lawn mowers? The whole idea that one’s lawn must be mowed because if “you’re feeling rough around the edges, it feels great to trim the hedges?”

Suddenly I feel compelled to raise my daughter in a sensory deprivation tank.That was only by Tuesday. I had yet to stumble upon a darling new iPhone application called iGirl.

Their initial promo read, “iGirl: She Obeys. Blow her, shake her, touch her and more!”

“Have your own virtual girlfriend on your iPhone for less than the price of a cup

of coffee or a beer, and shake her around!”

I wonder if she’s met the hot menstruating beaver yet? Nobody’s bound to buy her a beer or coffee. Maybe an ifriend is just the ticket.

Having to scrap his first idea, iBoobs, developer Toby of Resistor Productions, put iGirl in outfits like a bikini or “schoolgirl”. He’s currently working to make iGirl more like a Tamagotchi where, “you can, like feed her Prada bags or whatever, and she’s in a better mood.”

I so want to date this man.

Though by far, my personal Prada news highlight of the week was sadly, no joke. A new law enacted by President Karzai to entice the 15% minority of Shi’ite voters in a run-up to August elections decrees that a man is entitled to sleep with his wife every four days. Wives are legally obligated to fulfill his sexual desires by “preening for her husband as and when he desires.”

Not only does the law in its current form forbid Shia women from refusing sex [don’t they call that rape anymore?], a woman must get her husband’s permission to leave the house, look for a job, or get an education.

I believe the Auckland Super City commission just nixed enacting the same law here, much to the disappointment of men in Remuera, Titirangi and of course, all of the North Shore.

NATO leaders were not impressed. It’s not a particularly good look to send troops to die defending a regime that enacts legislation as oppressive as its former oppressors. The law is now under review, after international pressure.

Key echoed the noises of Obama, Brown, and Harper that the law is “abhorrent” and “unacceptable”. Though apparently, it will not threaten New Zealand’s commitment to Afghanistan, said our Prime Minister last week. God bless democracy.

Now, discuss. While I opt for a sex change operation. Because I have no idea how to be a woman this week. The day they give the beaver its own reality TV show, I’m toast. My sexuality is somewhere between a blue burqa, a pink lawnmower and yes, our illustrious Miss Universe.

The former Miss Venezuela capped it off when she commented on her recent trip to Guantanamo that her visit to the home of waterboarding and naked prisoners stacked like piles of wood was “A lot of fun!”

She said, “I didn’t want to leave. It was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful.”

I vow not to read anything next week. I now live in fear of telling someone I desperately need to do some work in the garden, and they’ll book me on the beaver’s new show.


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