Posted at 12:00 PM Jul 01, 2009
By Andrea Grimes
Ironic selling of makeup is still selling of makeup, CoverGirl. So yeah, I get it, and I'm totally falling or not falling for the new Ellen Degeneres "Simply Ageless" ad, depending on whatever attitude is supposed to make me want to buy the makeup in the first place. Is that confusing? It should be, a little, because as Sociological Images notes, Ellen's ad is a little confusing:
This is certainly a CoverGirl attempt at self-deprecating irony, which is a pretty good way to sell something when you're a giant conglomerate beauty company looking for new ways to hawk your wares in an increasingly self-referential, irony based media sphere.
Ellen is pretty and funny, and like butch news superstar Rachel Maddow, (who is also pretty! HOW CAN IT BE!?!? THEREISONLYONEWAYTOBEPRETTY BRAINSPLODEOMGOMGOMGOG) she has to wear makeup on television. (Just like, as Maddow has noted in interviews, dudes do as well.) So I think it's neat that, if she wants to, she can have a pass to sell cheap, non-obnoxious foundation to people who are probably interested in cheap, non-obnoxious foundation. I happily place myself in this category as my makeup interests lie mainly in eyeliner, so foundation is almost always an afterthought.
As far as the whole gay issue, it's surely not an accident that they chose a lovable lesbian to make fun of beauty culture, particularly in our Maddow moment. I do think it would be more satirical--if perhaps not quite as haha funny--if they'd gotten a gal like Jessica Alba to do it. Still, the commercial reveals to a larger public that there's more to being a gay woman than wearing Birkenstocks and carrying messenger bags, that there can be makeup and dancing and pretty and smart and gay and silly and whatever-you-like, all in one package. Still, that package is selling makeup, so ...