Target has recently come under scrutiny after it published an ad for a line of products founded by Beatrice Dixon. The Honey Pot produces feminine care products, including tampons, sanitary wipes, and washes.
In the ad, Bea talks about how she came up with the idea for her products (her ancestors presented her with an herbal formula in her dream), how Target changed her life, and how rocky a startup can be. Sounds benign enough. Right?
So what is the problem? At the end, the founder says: “The reason why it’s so important for The Honey Pot to do well is so that the next black girl that comes up with a great idea she can have a better opportunity. That means a lot to me.”
I heard you gasp as you read that quote. I gasped, too, when I first watched the video. “Did she really just say that?” I wondered. Yes. Yes, she did.
Taking all emotions aside, I can say that I see the positive in the vision for this video. It was meant to convey that your dreams can in fact come true. That no matter how tough things get, you should never give up, because all you need is that one person to believe in you and take you to the next level. Is it a beautiful message? Yes. Is it revolutionary? No. We have heard such empowering tales before.
Every day, we are reminded to treat all people equally. But then, we see ads like this that make us question reality. We have all heard about the controversy surrounding the Oscars. Not enough people “of color.” Not enough female directors. Have you heard people tell women to vote for Hilary Clinton because they were a woman? Are all those measures to include woman or to ostracize them?
Should all races be included in the “Best Actor” nominees? Or should best actors be included, in spite of their race? I would think the latter. Do you want more women to receive awards for directing films? Inspire women to follow their dreams (if directing is it). Giving awards to women just because they are women seems to be the opposite of equality. In fact, it actually makes the situation worse by saying that special arrangements have to be made for women to win awards.
By telling people to vote for a person that is the same gender as them is humiliating. It reduces them to their gender. It disregards their brain. We insist LGBTQ+ members vote for candidates who are gay because they are gay. Is that not boxing people and affixing those labels even more?
The Honey Pot ad is very divisive. It contains a: “You go, girl” message, but only for black girls. Because this is a line of feminine care products, I will not talk about how it excludes boys. Last time I checked, males do not use tampons. Although, who knows… The founder of the company could have said: “The reason why it’s so important for The Honey Pot to do well is so that the PERSON that comes up with a great idea can have a better opportunity. That means a lot to me.”
First of all, that company doing well or not has no impact on other people’s success, so I see that statement as inaccurate at best. My nitpicking aside, I would like to focus on the “next black girl” part. When was the last time you heard an ad directly focus on “white girls?” I cannot even imagine the backlash that would get. Girls are supposed to be girls, after all. White, black, yellow, or red (gross oversimplification). Have you heard complaints about the limited shades of makeup for non-white girls? It is a thing. There are hair products that are meant for black girls only. Why is it assumed that white girls do not have similar issues?
If I was to put myself in the shoes of a young, white girl watching this ad, I would draw some negative conclusions. The main one being that no one cares about my success. Is that what we are trying to do? To promote some kids at the cost of others? Are we combating racism with racism?
I keep hearing about people just trying to make things equal. They are promoting women because men have been at the top for too long. They are promoting black people because white people have won too much in the past. What we are doing is not removing barriers and evening the scales, but taking from one side and giving to the other. What does that do? It boosts inequality and creates more division.
We want to educate young kids and teach them what is right and what is wrong. My parents taught me to treat everyone with the same amount of respect. It is up to the person that I am dealing with what other conclusions I draw. Should that not be the way? If a white girl is taught that all people are equal but then she sees that ad talking about opportunities for black girls, what will she think? Will she still believe in equality? Will she still treat everyone the same way? Or will she see it as a them vs. us situation? What are we really trying to do?
What do you think of that ad?
Is there racism against white people?
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