Herbal Essences: Asian women can’t be blonde or Swedish?

by guest contributor Nina

herbal essencesThe new Herbal Essences commercial for hair dye starts with a blonde-haired woman’s back to the camera and the voiceover posits, “Not a real blonde?”

The woman turns around, there is a gong sound, and it is revealed that she is an Asian woman with apparently dyed blonde hair.

Later in the commercial, the voiceover says something to the effect of “they’ll think your parents are from Sweden” to which the woman says “yah” in what I guess is a Swedish accent.

The commercial just rubs me the wrong way. First the gong sound. Use of a gong to signify Asian culture is right up there with fried chicken and watermelon as an insulting race indicator.

Furthermore, the commercial only works if you agree with the following assumptions:

1) It is impossible for an Asian woman to have anything but jet black hair
2) An Asian-appearing woman cannot have a Swedish parent.

If you are a reader of this blog you already know that these two notions are just not true.

Hair dye has come a long way and most blonde women have a little assistance in obtaining their look. But to the honchos at Clairol (Herbal Essence’s parent company), an Asian woman with blonde hair is still a shocking sight.

Have you seen the ad? What did you think?

(Note from CVK: And if anyone can find a video of it online, please post a link in the comments. Thanks!)

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