Target: David Greenberg, President of Maybelline
Goal: Rebrand popular lip gloss so it no longer infantilizes women
Cosmetic company Maybelline’s brand of lipgloss called “Baby Lips” is an obvious byproduct of society’s infantilization of women. In addition to its name, the product is advertised in a way that infantilizes adult women by telling consumers it will give them “baby-soft lips” and by associating the youthful look with beauty.
Infantilizing women is problematic for a number of reasons. For one, it sexualizes young girls. Advertisements that try to cater to women with these techniques equate childlike behaviors, poses, and imagery with sexiness and allure. Infantilizing women reasserts Western notions of female sexuality that relate femininity to innocence, purity, vulnerability, powerlessness, and other childlike qualities.
Further, the assertion that women have to look young to be beautiful sends a negative and sexist message to women about aging. Society’s perception of male beauty isn’t tied as inherently to age as it is for women, where cosmetic companies continually market products to consumers through the male gaze. Women are constantly defined by their appearance, which is problematic in and of itself, but this problem is exacerbated by society’s rampant ageism which tells women they must maintain youthful, feminine looks as they age.
Maybelline markets Baby Lips lip gloss by exploiting these sexist and agist ideas of female sexuality and femininity. Sign the petition below to tell Maybelline that this type of advertising perpetuates these problems and reinforces sexist conceptions of the female body.
Dear David Greenberg,
Maybelline’s Baby Lips lip gloss tells women they have to have baby-soft lips in order to be beautiful. The advertisements for the product capitalize on society’s tendency to infantilize women.
Infantilization associates childlike qualities such as innocence, powerlessness, and chastity with being beautiful and sexy, which in turn sexualizes young girls. Young women and girls should be free to be sexual and possess sexual agency, but this marketing strategy objectifies them and employs a sexual lens that forces women to conform to a narrow definition of what is beautiful.
Associating youth and baby-likeness with beauty also reinforces the sexist, agist idea that women become undesirable as they age. Women should be free to embrace aging without all of these societal pressures telling them otherwise.
Stop branding and marketing your products in ways that infantilize women. Using these methods only exacerbates the problem.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: randii2015 via Flickr