Pop Culture: HOPE for the Onelys — Plan B January 16, 2010Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Pop Culture: HOPE for the Onelys, single and happy, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: one-night stands, plan b, single women, singlism in the media, we are single and happy
So I was lazily watching TV a few evenings ago and saw a commercial that I have seen many times before – this Plan B commercial:
I’m not sure how long this commercial has been out, but it’s been out long enough for me to have had several competing reactions to it (for those of you outside of the U.S. who don’t know what Plan B is, just watch the video). Here is a brief trajectory of my thinking (which prompted this post):
- The first few times I watched the video, I always noticed that the women all wake up alone and are all visibly upset when they wake up.
- I initially found this irritating and politically conservative, because it seemed to be portraying the issue as though the only women who might want or need morning-after birth control are those who are desperate in some way because they are single and having one-night stands.
- But then, the more I saw the commercial, the more my thinking changed. The five women all wake up alone, but they are also all portrayed (after picking up Plan B from their pharmacies) as leading fulfilling lives — which include their appreciation of friendship (see the women having lunch, see the women smiling and chatting on their cell phones), romantic partners (the commercial focuses on two women who are coupled, showing at least one couple more than once), and even being alone (see the women shopping, buying food to go, painting her toenails).
- Also, although they all wake up alone, each of these women is portrayed as being personally empowered — as independent women — by having access to Plan B.
- And thinking through all of the above, I began to think that this commercial seems to support a pro-Onely message, at least in some important ways: It disrupts stereotypes of single women being dissatisfied with or disappointed by their lives, and it portrays single women as being independent, empowered, and happy.
The commercial is not perfect, of course — I detect a strongly heteronormative and potentially classist message underneath the ad’s narrative — but I’m impressed, at least, by the way the ad supports a positive and alternative portrayal of single women in what is usually a singlist popular culture.
Copious Readers, what do you think of this commercial and my reading of it? Should we hold out hope for future pro-Onely ad campaigns?