I read an article today apparently written by Emily Dugan in the Independent about Reese Witherspoon’s appointment as the first-ever global ambassador for the cosmetic company Avon. I say apparently written because it looked to me like Ms Dugan had lifted the entire piece from an Avon press release.
Accordingly to Emily, ‘Avon has given an independent income to…more than 5 million…housewives all over the world. Oh really. I like that word ‘given’, as if traipsing round a council estate in the pouring rain knocking on doors ever felt like a gift to womanhood. And don’t you also know that the ‘actress lauded the company for providing women with economic opportunities’. Do you mean earning some pin money once the housework’s been done and the family’s been fed and the kids are at last in bed, love? I don’t know which pisses me off more; the lazy journalism or the condescending attitude.
Hey I might be wrong because as I read on I see the multi-millionairess star of Legally Blonde also claims that ‘Avon’s use of women across the world meant they had a better understanding of the sex’. Ah …I see. I actually like that word ‘use’ because unwittingly Reese, I think it’s very appropriate. It’s almost like the word exploitation but I’m sure that’s not the sense the Avon PR people would have intended when they crafted these words. Sorry, I’m acting like a cynical critical journalist – these are Reese’s own thoughts of course.
So Reece love why did you accept this role? Well we learn that she is proud to be joining the ‘great philanthropic work’ that was under way at the company. Apparently she feels ‘a great responsibility in my own life to give back to society’. Ah well now I understand love. What’s that, you’ll also be appearing in global advertising campaigns for the company? Oh, what for free, given that you want to give something back and all that? But as Ms Dugan digs deeper, we’re told by the intrepid reporter that ‘it’s not clear what she will earn for the contract’. So there is a contract then Emily.
I know why I’m so angry – over the years I’ve seen many women in my family and amongst my friends work their socks off for companies like Avon, being paid a pittance for hours and hours of effort selling, recruiting, managing, ordering, delivering their crappy products. Why? Because it’s often the only type of work many women can do because of their family commitments. And I don’t think it is just me because you and I both know that bloody Reese Witherspoon will be being paid a small fortune to peddle this corporate twoddle. I’d have more respect for you love if for a week you tried selling some lipstick door-to-door and only spent what you could earn. But I also know that isn’t going to happen any day soon, not without a camera team in tow and a world-wide syndicated tv mock-umentary in the offing a la hideous Victoria B.
And you Emily Dugan deserve to be shunted to the obituaries columns to re-learn what proper journalism is all about. The least you could have done was to nail what RW’s earning from this hugely challenging new role on the world stage and then to work out how many sticks of lipstick my friends and family members would have to sell to earn the same amount.
I think I might not buy the Independent tomorrow in protest. Ooh I’m hard.