Society is constantly telling women in subtle ways to be pretty but never look like you're trying, and now this ad is saying it explicitly. A Japanese campaign targeting "bad subway manners" released a bizarre video that reprimands women for applying lipstick and mascara on the subway, the Washington Post reports. Because it makes them "ugly."
The ad from Tokyu Corporation, a private railway company, shows two young women applying makeup in a mostly empty train car. Then a woman with no makeup on says: “Women in the big city are all beautiful. But they can be ugly sometimes.”
The woman then does a weird, aggressive dance in front of the makeup-applying women, while singing: “Why can’t you do it before you get on the train? Your eyebrows restored and eyelashes multiplied, your transformation is witnessed.”
Isn't doing a weird dance and singing in a train car way more disruptive than applying makeup? The ad then ends with the message: “Please do not put on makeup on the train.”
You can watch the ad here:
It's almost too strange to be infuriating. But not quite. Many Japanese women are pissed, and have reacted on Twitter. “I can understand it if Tokyu’s ad asks me to stop putting makeup on because makeup powder might spill over or its smell bothers others,” wrote @ryudokaoruko, according to The Japan Times. “But a railway company has no right to tell me whether I look beautiful or ugly.”
東急電鉄のポスター。社内での化粧は、粉が飛び散ったり匂いがキツかったり車内や他人の服を汚す可能性があるから迷惑だしやめてねというのならわかるんですけど、鉄道会社にキレイだとかみっともないとか言われる筋合いはないと思います。 pic.twitter.com/rpZt1NEy14— 龍堂薫子 (@ryudokaoruko) October 25, 2016
Another Twitter user, @tinasuke, wrote: “If the firm wants to clamp down on people who make others uncomfortable, it should create a commercial targeting people with body odors, or people who smell of alcohol or vomit.”
Kyodo News Agency reported that someone else tweeted: “there are passengers who are a much bigger nuisance, such as drunks and gropers.” (Seconded!)
In spite of the backlash against the ad, Tokyu has no intention of taking it down. “We have actually received more positive feedback than negative,” said a Tokyu spokesman, according to Japan Times.
This all comes at a time when the Japanese government has been trying to encourage more women to enter the workforce. Uh, maybe more women would enter the workforce if you let them put on their makeup on the damn train so they can squeeze in an extra 20 minutes of much-needed sleep, ya hear?
Either that, or make it illegal to tell a woman she looks tired. And we could all abandon makeup entirely.