With the cliche saying, “Gender is a construct” (or, in Sex and the City, “Gender is an illusion), it comes as no surprise that this over saturation of proving a point about the meaninglessness of genitalia would result in a viral makeup commercial.
Shiseido brought the intrigue and appeal back to advertising with their latest two minute, twenty-seven second offering, which seems plain enough as the camera pans through a classroom full of Japanese teenage girls going about their Britney Spears in the “…Baby One More Time” video business. The camera finally settles on the page of a book one of the girls is reading and then pans back out to reveal a reversal time lapse showing each “girl” getting their hair and makeup done as a boy.
Apart from the obvious commentary on the ever-waning concept of what it means to be masculine or feminine, Shiseido elevates their product to the heights of possessing near magical powers in its capabilities. No matter how ugly or how many blemishes, you, too–regardless of gender–can look like an attractive schoolgirl with Shiseido’s line of skin care and makeup.
Of course, watching the commercial a second time, the gender identity of the actors becomes immediately clear, leading one to draw the conclusion of that old adage, “Nothing is what it seems,” rather than the more new-fangled “dic”tum, “Gender is a construct.”