Thursday, June 25, 2009

Snapshot: Dying for a Diamond

(originally posted 04/09 at wordpress)

feminism on the go
by mae stephenson


This is sort of cheating. I actually snapped this picture (but still with my cell phone!) months ago because I just couldn't believe the sexism before my eyes and wanted to show it to everyone I knew. You could call it my original Snapshot. Nonetheless, this was snapped downtown, near PSU, on 4th Ave. It's an ad that actually extends into the window of a Trimet bus-- something I'd never seen before-- depicting a woman desperately reaching for a giant diamond ring; it almost appears as though the woman is reaching from a seat inside of the bus.

The first university I ever went to was a private Christian school in Seattle, where a common phrase to hear around the dorm, in which everyone under 21 was mandated to live, was "Ring by Spring!" This was what I remembered when I saw this ad.

This ad not only perpetuates negative stereotypes about women desiring eternal attachment to men and a materialistic obsession with a diamond ring, but in turn, perpetuates the stereotype that men have no interest in commitment and that it's a woman's job to tame them into civilized, religiously sanctioned marriages. These things are not only sexist, but grossly heterocentric.

The desperation in this ad doesn't even seem likable for the men or the women who happen to be in the market for a diamond ring. It's just jaw-dropping gross. And that's before we get into the discussion of the diamond business as it really is: the deathly exploitation of African workers. You can read more on that piece here.

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