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Would You Like Some Hypocrisy With Your Suburban Outrage?

By Jocelyn Geboy in News on Jun 1, 2007 9:00PM

Chicagoist is a feminist. We make no bones about it and we've felt this way since we knew what one was. We're a staunch defender of women's issues and really aware of the subtle societal influences on women. However, we have never been a party-liner for anything and we may sound like we don't get where these women are coming from. We do. But the first amendment trumps nearly everything and at some point, there are bigger fish to fry.

2007_06feminist.jpgSalon owner Pascal Ibgui and plastic surgeon Steven Bloch have a billboard up for the Pascal Pour Elle and Skin Deep Medical Spa over in Glenview. It's pretty lame. It shows a really hot chick with barely anything on and it has all these arrows pointing to her "flaws" and what procedures she can have done to "fix" them. Niiiice.

"I was shocked," said Regina Thibeau. "I was offended as a woman, angered as a mother and embarrassed as a resident of Glenview." Let's start by getting the terrible sweeping generalizations out of the way first, shall we? We've seen far too many North Shore MILFs* with plastic boobs and fixed up faces for this not to smack of irony. We don't dig on the plastic surgery scene, but it seems like this guy just knows how to get at his target audience.

The billboard will be up through July and despite over 300 signatures requesting it be taken down, it violates no laws and will remain up. The image was on a direct mail campaign the business recently used and brought in so much business they thought they'd amp it up a bit. There was also recent billboard controversy when a law firm put a billboard up encouraging divorce. However, it was taken down because it didn't have a permit.

"It doesn't represent us as people whose beauty emanates from within," Thibeau said. "I'm a mother, a wife, a member of the PTA, and this is an affront to everything I work for and try to instill in my children." Cathe Russe notes that she wants it removed because "It demonstrates that there's a set of values they support that are the antithesis of my values." Wow. So we just zap things when they don't correspond with our values?

It gets uglier after the jump ...

Chicagoist is hazarding a guess that these women have may have watched an episode or two of America's Next Top Model or fallen prey to the addiction of Nip/Tuck. We're not sure that the women quoted in the article ever watched these shows, but out of 300 signatures on the petition to get the sign taken down, we would wager a large amount of cash on the odds that many of them have.

We'd also be curious to know how many of these women let their girls go around in those revealing low-rise jeans? With a bellybutton ring, perhaps? Do they have any idea if their daughters are engaging in some form of disordered eating? Obviously the billboard is ridiculous to point out a beautiful woman's flaws in an attempt to get women to question whether or not they need to artificially alter themselves. To ask if they meet some sort of unattainable, make-believe beauty standard created by men in all forms of media: television, film, and the music industry just to start. But somehow it's more disturbing when real life women and girls are using subtler, sometimes much more dangerous ways to meet these standards and going unnoticed while doing so. Getting new boobs is pretty obvious. Throwing up every day after class isn't.

What is the most disturbing element is how society at large views sexuality as a subject at all. Chicagoist finds the human body so much less disturbing or threatening to our children than graphic depictions of violence on TV in the form of torture scenes on 24 or murder/rape cases on Law and Order: SVU. The new trend of torture-sexual violence movies that are passing for horror movies these days (Hostel, Saw) completely blows us away.

We like the Dove campaign. We think it's sad that it has to be a shock that a size 12 is really the norm for most women and that you can look beautiful at that size. We think women like Diane Keaton, Jamie Lee Curtis and Blythe Danner are absolutely beautiful. We wish more women had their style, grace and aplomb. Despite our words, we agree wholeheartedly with the women of Glenview. But this billboard is just a symptom of a much larger disease. And demanding that it be taken down instead of trying to find out what the cause of the problem is is like trying to fix a sinus infection by sucking on a Luden's. It fixes a symptom for a minute, but doesn't touch the illness.

*If Tori Amos is co-opting this word, we figured we could use it, too.

"Not a feminist?" by tianadargent