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Even with the amount of energy that I have, I, just like most of the general population, feel like I’m struck by bricks when my alarm sounds at 6:30 on a Monday morning. But to actually make matters interesting, this is New York City, and no two days are alike. There is constant commotion, a story to tell, and something strange to see, instantly clicking our internal lightbulbs back on.
It wasn’t even nine AM before something strange and discomforting was brought to my attention by my friends at CityElla. Much like myself, these ladies value women’s views and goals. To see anything suggestive posted by them would result in an instant double take, but all for the right reasons. Standing in line at Starbucks, I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a photo that was posted by CityElla on my feed – one that is destined to spark controversy across many levels – of this billboard ad:
I don’t know how many outdoor ads real estate firm MNS has up across New York, but this one is placed in a prime location of 8th Avenue and 21st Street, where enough people will see it and stop – not just walk on by like it’s any other billboard.
We’re taking several steps backwards with this ad. I shouldn’t even have to say that this ad sexualizes women and kicks them down on the ladder. This woman is clothed in nothing but a button-up that clearly isn’t hers and a deviant glare that says, “I’m only here for the floor-to-celing windows and short walk to Central Park.” At this point, it isn’t even about real estate. It makes it look like women are skipping the “love” in storybook romances and are just falling for materialism, like a rich investment banking man who already owns the apartment a block from Bergdorf’s.
On that note, it also brings up an assumption that is so Little House on the Prairie-centric. Women have been carrying on with their own lives perfectly fine over time, but this ad subtly announces that women have difficulty flying solo – that is, they can’t function without a “man” in their lives, a sole provider, and they can’t afford to live in luxury on their own.
Lana Del Rey may believe that money is the anthem of success, and tangibly, that may be true, but success comes in different outlets for everyone. On my end, I don’t condone seeking success through someone else’s achievements – such as marrying or using someone for money, especially if he has all the complementary attributes (one being an apartment he bought through MNS).
When women don’t marry for love and prefer an invincible credit card over undeniable bliss, it throws us all into a pool of Courtney Stodden seconds. It makes all women out to be that they’re gold diggers who are more excited about the presents their men give them as opposed, well, their literal presence . Shouldn’t that be enough?
Don’t sacrifice your happiness for material items. That one night you spend in the penthouse might seem somewhat monumental in the moment, but will the great story really get any better?
Remember that your actions as a dignified individual do make a difference. If women keep acting like the model in this ad, more ads will be created because the social hypothesis is being proven true. And deep down, you don’t want to contribute to that assumption – do you?