Not A Pink Girl

It’s a white white world for Vera Bradley (conclusion)

June 25, 2008

I remember when I was a kid in the 1960s & 1970s & catalogs started to integrate. Every once in a while you’d see an African-American woman posing for Montgomery Ward. We had that catalog more than we had Sears, Roebuck, although we’d get that once every other year or so. It was really a big deal when this started happening.

It was by no means common though. It was really a big deal though when television sitcoms started to have African-American characters, like Julia (which I adored because she was so skinny & gorgeous) & The Jeffersons. There was also Clarence Williams III on The Mod Squad; Lloyd Haynes who played Pete Dixon, the history teacher on Room 222 (I went to Catholic school & was taught by nuns, so I was like, Golly, not only a male teacher, but a black male teacher! [& yes, I really did say Golly; my citified Philadelphia cousins used to call me Gomer Pyle]); not to mention all the sitcom spinoffs that followed.

In 1968, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act (Fair Housing Act) was passed.  This prohibited discrimination in housing-related transactions based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status (single families, pregnant women), or handicap (disability). I remember when this happened because advertising changed.

It used to be that when you were looking at ads for apartments or houses for sale in the Evening Star (the DC-area newspaper back then) or the Washington Post, the cute little families pictured would all be white (you know, sort of like the families in the Vera Bradley catalog circa 2008). Now, when you look at these ads, families of color are depicted. It seems so silly that we would have to pass a law to get this to happen. You have to be pretty cloistered if you never see an ethnic face. Of course, in this area, most of the people in the service-related industries (restaurants for example) are immigrants.

Knowledge of how advertising has changed over the decades makes the Vera Bradley catalog even more weird to me. I don’t think companies spend money on advertising without doing serious market research & analysis. So the question is, did Vera Bradley – the person or the company – make a conscious decision to market her things only to affluent whites? Is she trying to make a statement (through subliminal messages) that rich white girls carry Vera Bradley purses?

The anomaly of this all-white advertising stuck out like a sore thumb to me. I wonder if anyone else noticed it?


What was I thinking?!

May 20, 2008
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Okay, here I am! I’ve got so much to say I feel like a pot that’s reached the boiling point & if you don’t take the lid off, I’m going to explode. Sounds like we’re going to get something on us, huh?!

This blog is about how I feel & about my observations about life. We live in a capitalist society where money is king (notice they don’t say, “money is queen”). As American women, we are major targets of the ad agencies. Everything they throw at us by way of the glossy “shelter” & “lifestyle” magazines is supposed to change our lives for the better. (You know the feeling: if I only buy that frizzies-smoother hair product, I’ll knock ’em dead in that interview & get that six-figure salary; if I buy that Tory Burch flower-print dress, that handsome guy at the city council dinner will fall in love with me & we’ll live happily ever after; etc.)

But each of us is unique. We have our own “way” about us that is truly endearing. But we continue to try to assimilate, to conform, to be what 21st-century culture says a woman is supposed to be. It’s getting out of hand. I don’t think we should Botox our personalities into oblivion!

I’ve noticed that I don’t always “get” the latest trends, the popular TV shows, the mainstream way of thinking. Often, the things that are supposed to be “cool” & the bandwagons I’m supposed to just jump onto without even thinking about it just don’t sit right with me. They don’t feel comfortable; they don’t feel right. In this blog, I’ll talk about things I think are really neat, & things I feel are being force-fed to me (usually by Madison Avenue) & that just don’t feel right to me.

I’m in a unique position because my life is full of contradictions. I’m a woman (a Washington DC native), a mother (of two: one child is a grown woman herself, & one child isn’t a kid anymore, he’s a teenager) & grandmother (of two, a boy & a girl, neither of which is a baby). I’m a wife (my second marriage; I’m getting ready to “celebrate” my 20th wedding anniversary) & daughter (my mother is healthy, active, independent & living about 40 miles from my home). I’ve done the parenting thing both ways: I’ve been a single mother with a child in full-time daycare, & I’m now an at-home mom or SAHM (stay-at-home-mom). I am a sister (I have four siblings, only two of which I choose to speak to at all). I’m from a close-knit Irish-Catholic family that was blown apart by alcoholism, & I do not drink alcohol (I’ve been sober since August 18, 1986 & picked up my 21-year chip this past summer [2007]). I’m Catholic & I consider myself a bleeding-heart liberal (yes, I am pro-choice & pro-peace). I see many of my fellow Catholics as hypocrites & hawks, & it breaks my heart. I love the womanly arts (needlework, gardening, reading, cooking), but I’m dangerously computer-literate (& I prefer Macs).

So I have a lot to say!

I can’t wait to hear what you think about all this stuff, too. So let me hear from you! Welcome to my blog, Not A Pink Girl. Talk to you soon!


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