Lisa at Sociological Images brings this bizarre Tropicana ad to our attention, wherein a little girl wearing a t-shirt and jeans is deemed "hard to handle," while her princess counterpart is deemed "easy to handle."
The "bad" girl, with her Veruca Salt frown and crossed arms, apparently represents those "tough to handle" young ladies who aren't all sugar and spice and everything approved by mass-marketed mice. The orange juice bottle below the picture of the two girls is meant to represent the "easy to handle" notion; it is also sleek and pretty and convenient.
"Notice how easyness is communicated with symbols of femininity," Lisa writes, "The message is that girls are, ideally, accommodating and passive. Girls should be like objects, easy to "handle." Would the ad work quite the same way if the child was a boy? Do we hope/expect that our boys will be completely passive and convenient to handle?"
The ad is an epic fail on several levels; anyone with half a brain could tell you that there are obvious connotations to be made when you label any woman, at any age, as "easy." The body language of the girls is also curious: the "hard to handle" girl has her arms firmly placed across her chest in a protective nature, while the "easy to handle" girl has her back turned to the camera, with her arms held behind her, and a shy, over the shoulder smile projecting her supposed sweetness and ease. It all rings a bit gross and ill-thought out (not to mention stupid—beyond the underlying tones of sexuality, there are stereotypes being portrayed here that don't even make any sense—since when are the "princess" types less high maintenance than the tomboys?). The use of dark colors vs. light colors, in terms of being "easy" and "hard" to handle is also an interesting, and off-putting choice.
What say you, commenters?
Girls Should Be "Easy" [Sociological Images]