Embodying Japan: Cultures of Sport, Beauty, and Medicine 2017

Genderless Beauty? Shiseido's "High School Girl?" Advertisement

Watch this viral video advertisement from the Japanese skincare and beauty brand Shiseido and see if you notice anything before the big reveal. [Note: I linked a video that provides English subtitles for you guys, but you can find the original subtitle-free version on Youtube (which has 10 million+ views!)].

I thought this was an incredible and creative clip, not only for confronting global assumptions around gender norms, but for its unique visual approach (using multiple people instead of just one was super-effective, IMO). It's definitely a plot twist for most people (shock value is definitely an attention-grabber/share-worthy over social media), and a powerful, evocative way to start a conversation on gender fluidity/identity/changing the body. And released from a Japanese beauty brand, no less! There is hope for the future!

What do you guys think/make of this video? I love how it weaves and connects beauty, gender, control of the body and societal norms (all distinct topics) into one coherent message of acceptance/open-mindedness/broader perspective/inherent assumptions/etc. It takes on so much, but I think it does it effectively and well. However, there's always that capitalist element I wonder about... it is a commercial, after all, seeking to promote predominantly female beauty products. I don't think the brand was necessarily encouraging experimentation - to be pessimistic, Shiseido may have just been using boys to prove that their beauty products could make 'even men' look 'pretty.' The effect, regardless of intention, was so much greater though - at least for me. I see it as a step forward in the right direction, an indication of changing times - however slow that may be. 

It reminds me of the quote: 
"How do you eat an elephant?"
"One bite at a time."

LeoBurnettPraha. "SHISEIDO "High School Girl?"" YouTube. YouTube, 06 June 2016. Web. 29 Apr. 2017.

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