The Vagenda

Shitty Press Release of the Month

As a blogger, I get my fair share of inane press releases landing in my inbox – from greetings with gender identity problems (“Dear Sir/ Madam”) to those that sidestep the problem of my having a name by beginning with the all-encompassing “hello there!” That’s just the opening though, the prelude to whichever product I’m about to be convinced will change my life – or at least my wardrobe. 
I understand the necessity for these emails – they’re informative for those in the business of selling or writing about the shiniest, newest, most up-and-coming handbags out there. And, on occasion, these releases can be interesting. Sometimes a work or particular design catches my attention, and I’m tempted to follow it up – some things are worth celebrating. However, the majority of press releases get little more than a cursory glance and a flick of the delete button. I’m wondering if a new category of response should be created though, devoted to those so awful I spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about them. These are the emails that raise hackles when clicked on; the message somehow designed to ensure that I have to sit on my hands to stop me responding rudely. 
A slight shiver of these hackles – a minor gnat of an irritation – was raised with an email earlier this week titled ‘New Feminist’. I was excited. Perhaps someone had read about my fascination with feminism, and thought I might be interested in a new publication or website – maybe it was going to be absorbing, interesting, thought-provoking (the mind runs away). Instead, I was greeted with a press release for a range of bags and shoes that were a contemporary take on the 1950s femme fatale figure (I paraphrase). The words feminist and feminine were thought interchangeable throughout, as though Betty Friedan was nothing but a twinkle in the eye of the struggle for equality. It’s a relatively minor annoyance – and there’s nothing wrong in a bit of Mad Men style dress up (although I’m not sure how Betty or Joan would feel about the shiny Mock-Crock accessories) – but I just felt the word was misplaced and pretty misinformed. 
However, the next email that convinced me that I was living in a parallel universe where feminism never happened was the one titled ‘5 lingerie styles men adore’. My first response was to wonder whether my inbox had been mistaken for the Cosmo press office. My second was to wonder what these five styles actually were. Assembled by an expert who knows what men “love seeing there (sic) girls in”, I read through the suggestions with a rising sense of horror. My God, I had never worn a red lace bra underneath a white tee so that guys could see this “hot colour peeking through”. That was where I was going wrong! And never had I thought to pair a bustier with a high-waisted skirt on a night out so that “guys know what they might be getting”. It was also beyond me to have realized that a see-through, key-hole nightie in black lace was a “dream come true” for the man in my life. 
Well, the man in my life doesn’t exist (hasn’t ever done yet – plenty of time for that though), so I wasn’t exactly the target audience for this press release, complete with its assumptions that one needs only don a leopard-print thong to fulfill the wildest fantasies. But I don’t need a boyfriend to know the worth of good underwear – Caitlin Moran writes a whole little ode to it in ‘How to Be a Woman’, finishing with the statement: “Oh, if only the world knew how amazing we look, underneath all these clothes”. Lingerie can be amazing and confidence-enhancing and very, very sexy. Do you know what isn’t sexy though? Calling women “girls” whose every decision is tailored towards what their “men” are going to find hot. Assuming that all women (sorry, girls) are desperate to show men what they might “get” if they’re lucky. Underwear designs that look so flammable one would be afraid of the smallest spark, and so uncomfortable that all the models have rictus-grins. 
But wait – there’s light at the end of the tunnel! This particular stylist is asking for additional tips on lingerie styles. Not sure whether she would publish my suggestions of “Something very nice in silk that the woman feels sensual and thrush-free in” or “A lovely pair of knickers by ethical company ‘Who Made Your Pants’ – each pair described as ‘a little bit of gorgeous, just for you, every day’”. Because that’s who underwear should ultimately be for – you. If you’re not enjoying what you’ve got on, then it’s not worth it. Perhaps we need some more suggestions – a bevy of ‘Alternative Underwear’ ideas and observations on what women feel good in, rather than what men “adore”.
- RJ

4 thoughts on “Shitty Press Release of the Month

    Sorry but my face hurts a little bit from laughing so hard.

    First and foremost, the awkward greeting.
    That’s just stupid.
    If someone is going to send you an e-mail, that person should really actually at least figure out your name is. That would be nice. Strangely enough, it usually is polite to acknowledge a person by his/her first name.
    Not acknowledging a person is just a little bit sad.
    That’s not the main point of this article though so I’m going to move on.

    I’m throwing up a little bit seeing these things.
    In what flipping universe is it right to be sending people e-mails like this?
    Sadly, I haven’t tried any of these amazing lingerie styles yet.
    Perhaps that’s why I don’t have men crawling all over me.
    Oh wait. Maybe the reason I don’t have men all over me is because I don’t WANT or NEED them all over me.

    Maybe I just want to dress nicely and wear pretty lingerie for myself because I feel like it.
    So, sorry I don’t go wild with leopard thongs (ewww) and I don’t wear a bustier and I don’t feel the need to wear a red bra with a white top (umm how much sluttier can you get).
    I would rather respect myself and wear something nice because it’s comfy and because it gives me confidence.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely (cough) press release with us RJ!
    It’s nice to know that there are still some rational and awesome people out there as well as the freaks and the disturbingly crazy people who send out these things.

    I definitely think that you should send in a few tips regarding lingerie styles.
    Enlighten her.
    Or perhaps just send her a cease and desist letter.
    That’s just an idea though :)

    This post was awesome and just made my day.
    Thank you guys!

    Have a lovely day :)

    The Ace of Hearts

  2. There are so many problems with this, but let’s focus on “key-hole nightie” WHAT!? isnt it short, low, holey, lacey and revealing enough? I can see what she had for tea! Ain’t no need for a peekaboo hole.

    Also, YES i will wear undies or lingerie when i go out, but i’ll be wearing outerwear and NOT showing someone (a stranger havent met yet/) what they’re apparently SURE to “get” later… not that we’re EASY or anything or ASKING for it…

  3. Why do they have suspenders on but no stockings? Isn’t that the point of suspenders?
    Not the biggest “WTF?!?” here, but certainly the one that got me…

  4. First of all, call me an old fogey (I’m in my twenties) but I don’t always like being addressed by my first name. It often feels a bit intimate.
    Second, there’s nothing wrong with leopard thongs or bustiers if they make you feel sexy. All that actually bothered me about the above was being called a girl (I am not a girl, I am a woman, I’ve got pubes and all), and of course the implication that everything we do as sexual creatures is to please the boys.

    Third, and most infuriatingly, it is quite judgemental, nasty and certainly anti-feminist of you to refer to an outfit as slutty just because it’s more, shall we say, risqué than you would wear. I’m a fairly modest dresser but if one day I felt like wearing a red bra with a white top I think it is my right to do so without other people getting snooty. I bet I would look amazing.