Thursday, May 18, 2006

Interesting Note: Coppertone Girl Painter Dies

Joyce Ballantyne Brand, Creator of the Coppertone Girl, Dies

Remember the old Coppertone ads? Not the recent ones, the ones with more buttocks?

Yes, those ads used to run. Well into the seventies and eighties, even up to the start of the new millenium.

Thing was, back when the painting was in advertisements and on the packages people didn't think of a young girl's buttocks as sexually exciting. We were able to take the picture in context and understand what was being said.

Look at the old picture, and you'll see a girl looking at a dog who's biting her bikini bottom down. Her hand's holding onto the front of the bikini, and she's got a mortified look on her face. No sign of wanting attention of any kind, instead she'd rather disappear into the woodwork.

Not only that, but in a beach scene you'd understand that the girl was properly dressed. (Okay, she needs a top; but the bottom piece would not be out of place had it not been being pulled down by a dog.)

Admittedly, this was before the internet and the present-day hyperawareness of pedophilia. Before priests and scouting and junior high-school gymnastic coaches became objects of strong watchful surveillance. Before we understood that college wasn't the only place where teachers were bedding students (and that in college, the teachers are being logical about it).

So maybe it's better that there's less of the bottom shown, and that the image is smaller. Anything to not signal to pedophiles and their ilk that their perdillictions are gaining any acceptance.

Still, there's something to be said about a society that could accept such a picture, knowing full well what was meant (and what WASN'T).

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