What follows is not thoughts on the movie (~contented sigh~), but a tl;dr post about an ad that ran with my theater's reel. (Well, "reel.")
It was a Summer's Eve commercial, from which I gather they have a new ad campaign going. The tagline of the campaign is "Hail to the V." I can find videos online that involve talking hands (positioned vertically, because they are representing vaginas), but I can't find the ad they screened in our theater. If I find it later, I'll update with it here. For now, here's what I remember:
First we see a woman holding an infant up to the moonlight, in a suggestion of a prehistoric kind of setting. The next scene is a Cleopatra-like figure walking out on a dais above her adoring subjects. She thrusts her arms above her head in a victorious V and they all cheer. Third, we see a Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon type fight (in a bamboo forest and everything) between two men battling, presumably over the young woman watching them amidst the bamboo. Finally, it shows a joust with two knights riding toward each other, and a queen or noblewoman watching them with evident excitement and possibly lust. All throughout, the narration is along the lines of, "It is the foundation [or something like that] of society; [stuff I don't remember]; through time men have fought for it [at the bamboo shots], even died for it [on the joust hit]" etc.
Then at the end of the joust scene, it cuts to a woman in a grocery store ladies' bizness aisle, and the narrator cries something like, "So show it some love, ladies!"
"It" is of course the vagina, and the grocery store woman is holding a Summer's Eve "feminine wash" product.
When I'd seen the martial arts scene with two men clearly fighting over a woman, I started thinking, "What is it, love?" And then the jousting I thought, "Yeah, I guess, love."
But no, they're not talking about love, or even love as metaphor for sex. They are literally talking about literal vagina. (Though presumably Summer's Eve non-douche products have more to do with the vulva and labia?)
On the face of it, the campaign is about empowering women about their bodies through knowledge and confidence. And I can entertain the idea that the creative team really was working from such a place. Because - again, on the face of it - we're talking about the awesome and unique power of the vagina, about how special and awesome the vagina is, and isn't the vagina just awesome you guyz?
We see an infant lifted up to the moonlight, the moon being your prototypical female celestial body, aside from Venus. (Discounting the part where the uterus has really more to do with the production of an infant than a vagina does, particularly if the birth isn't vaginal?) We see a female Pharaoh (looks older than Cleopatra, but I'm not assuming the design team knows the difference between Cleopatra and Hatshepsut), and who doesn't associate the female Pharaohs with ultimate lady power? We see obviously skilled and powerful men just aching to beat each other out for the chance at love from a woman who clearly holds power over their fates.
The scene of the two martial arts fighters battling in the bamboo forest with the young woman watching them from behind the stalks edges into more problematic territory: Are they going to kill each other? Is she just letting that happen? Does she have any agency in who "wins" her when the fight is over, or is this like a mountain goat situation where brawn means all, regardless of her desires? Ditto on the jousting scene, though in the idiom of courtly love it's hardly assumed that this noblewoman (queen?) will actually sleep with her sponsored knight. If anything, the jousting scene, because of that reality about how the ideal of courtly love worked, doesn't really belong in the ad. (NOT that it was free from sex or adultery or fornication or what have you, but by and large, it was not assumed that the lady whose favor a knight vied for would sleep with said knight.)
Now, I'll give you that the ad was supposed to be lighthearted and humorous, and I'll give you that I laughed. But I wasn't laughing at the content of the ad, at least not in the way I was meant to. I was laughing a) at the ridiculousness of having a Summer's Eve commercial with a HARRY POTTER MOVIE, and b) at the thinly veiled sexism that defined the whole ad, and just how balls to the wall it was. (To use a wholly inappropriate expression.) A sexism that works both ways, by the way. Is this ad saying that men are totally powerless over the allure of the birth canal and adjacent outer bits? That's not terribly flattering to men.
I think we can skirt over the surface issue of, "We all know that Summer's Eve is actually more likely to irritate the external female genitalia than to make it healthier, yes?" And at this point we can definitely gloss over the problem of, "We all know that in the vast majority of cases douching is actually unhealthy, right?"
Let's just skip that and take it as a given that the existence of Summer's Eve as a long-standing brand is basically thanks to the scariness of the female genitalia and the ickiness of the vagina in the minds of popular culture. (You guys! It has mucus membranes! Eeeww!)
So let's posit that to "show [the vagina and vulva] some love" is all this ad campaign wants to do. Fine.
The entire construction of this particular ad is founded on the presumption that all the power, all the influence over society, over culture, over child-rearing, and hell, over finding love that women have ever had was always and forever based solely on their literal vaginas.
The most important thing a woman ever gives an infant is pushing it out of her vagina. The reason empires followed and enemies fell to female Pharaohs was that they had vaginas, which were, presumably, available if the right price was paid. The only reason two men would have to compete for the attentions of a woman is the sexy sex her vagina can bestow. (Particularly if she's a queen or landholder - there's definitely no other reason to want to get on her good side then, no treaties to be had or laws to be hammered out or anything.) The website has articles about breaking the verbal taboo of "vagina." Cool. So use the word in your commercials and print ads, then. According to the print ads of this campaign, Cleopatra's vagina (well, her "V") was "her most precious resource." Really? REALLY?? The only way to make sense of that assertion is by dropping acid.
Ladies, all you are, in the end, is a vagina. Hillary Clinton is just a vagina. Elizabeth I was just a vagina. Sally Ride is just a vagina. Aung San Suu Kyi is just a vagina. We are all just stinky, unloved vaginas that can maybe smell like delicate blossoms and be adored if we buy Summer's Eve!
Do I think that's actually what the ad's creative team was thinking when they sat down and storyboarded it? No, absolutely not. I think they imagined they were being funny and memorable. I'll definitely give them memorable. I'm even willing to bet that advances in science mean that today's Summer's Eve products are for the most part innocuous if you're not sensitive-skinned.
But the reduction of women to their vaginas, to objects - that's the reduction the ad's creative team worked from. I find it entirely easy to believe that not a single person in the brainstorming session sat up and went, "Hey, you guys realize we're reducing every accomplishment women have ever achieved and every contribution they've made to society to men's uncontrollable greed for vaginal sex, right?"
I hate that I went into my final first experience of a Harry Potter movie distracted by this stupid ad. I'm glad I was the only one I heard laugh in my theater. If no one else was as disbelieving as I was, at least no one else thought it was very funny.
Edit: Thanks to anon for finding a link:
Edit: Thanks to anon for finding a link: