Heather Conn Blogs

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The dummy and the mannequin: a perfect combo for Valentine’s Day


Amidst the blush of Valentine’s Day, with its cliché red hearts, roses, and lipstick smudges, I’d like to offer a more tarnished version of this commercial event.

Take this snuggling couple above, for instance, who recently appeared in the window of a second-hand furniture store (love as used goods?) on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, BC. (I like the symbolism of them behind bars—the imprisonment of stereotypes.)

The dummy, in a lounge-lizard smoking jacket à la Hugh Hefner, clearly needs an eyebrow trim. Speaking of Hef, it’s pathetic that mainstream media drools with lust and envy over his lifestyle, as if there’s nothing sick or predatory about an 80-something man frolicking with—let alone marrying—a 20ish nymphette. What role models we have!

This dummy has opted for the usual ploys: flowers (but no water) and chocolate. But is his approach working? Don’t think so. His date looks comatose, like the glazed eyes of the woman on the cover of the book Love and the Facts of Life, which my mom gave me at puberty back in the 1970s. That book’s main message to female readers was: even if your sweetie’s talk bores you, act like you’re interested. Read up on a few recent sports scores so you’ll have some conversation to offer. What gender roles we’ve been taught!

This gal must have read the same book. Someone better tell her that bright blue eyeshadow and rouged cheeks went out of vogue in the 1950s, unless you were portraying a lady of the night or buxom madam in a western.

But enough about appearances. What about the subtleties of love—sideways glances, caring attention, and thoughtful gestures? No lingering eye contact for these two. They’re more interested in ceiling patterns.

Who could better represent love-gone-wrong than a dummy and a model? That’s what advertisers want us all to be.

Let’s redefine our love relationships, creating ones that honour who we truly are. Forget the media images that blast us daily with what love is supposed to look, act, sound, and be like. . . Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and all that bullshit.

Let’s scrap the gender stereotypes, especially those about females. They’re dangerous. They reinforce lies like women want to be raped.

On February 14, join the mass movement One Billion Rising, sponsored by V Day. In cities across the globe, this event invites us all to gather in our communities to dance and demand an end to violence against women and girls. One in three women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. That is more than one billion women!

In Vancouver, BC, join the dance at the Roundhouse from 7:15 to 9:15. Dance wherever you are. That’s a lot better than lying in the arms of a dummy.

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February 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm Comments (4)