Behind every good woman...

Another billboard story, though I didn’t manage to get a picture of this one (they change the billboards so often here in Damascus!).

The latest fad in advertising here seems to be two-part billboards. First, a billboard with a question or an incomplete phrase on it will appear. Sometimes, there is no text at all, just a curiosity-inducing image. Within a few days, the second part of the billboard will replace the first and the mystery product is revealed along with the answer to the question or the completion of the incomplete phrase.

Last month, a new one showed up all over the city. It showed only a close-up of a woman from the waist up, arms crossed, looking very empowered. Written to the side was, “Behind every good woman is…” In the background, there was a vague shadow of a bottle of some kind. It was impossible to tell what exactly it was.

Sure enough, a few days later, the billboards were changed and the answer was revealed. I was fully expecting it to be an advertisement for a brand of shampoo. The woman in the picture had gorgeous hair, after all. Instead, however, it turned out to be dish soap! Behind every good woman is this particular brand of dish soap!

I was very surprised. Somehow, I don’t think an advertisement like that would go over very well with most women in America. Shampoo, perfume, even a new hip kind of yogurt – each of those could probably have fit the ad without raising the ire of American women were it displayed in the US. But dish soap?

For a moment, I found myself trying to decide whether to be offended (because being offended is a decision). What kind of message does that send, that a good woman is best represented by something as domestic and mundane as dish soap? But then, I wondered – if the bottle had been shampoo, perfume, or yogurt, would the message have been any better? I think not.

In the end, I decided that I was not offended. In fact, next time we run out of dish soap, I just might give that brand a try.

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