“You’ve come a long way, baby” was an album by British musician Fatboy Slim, released in 1998.
The title was taken was from a slogan for the cigarette brand Virginia Slims, introduced in 1968 and marketed to young professional women and meant to appeal to the themes of feminism and women’s liberation in the 60s and 70s. The ads often featured anecdotes about women in the early 20th century who were punished for being caught smoking, as compared to the time of the ads when more women had more rights.
The Virginia Slims ad came to mind when I came across a brief story from the Malta Times, titled “Fresh Graduates”, which featured this photo from Gaza.
The photo included the following text:
Palestinian women and members of Hamas security forces marching in formation during a graduation ceremony for new recruits in Gaza City, yesterday.
So, I then began imagining a new Virginia Slims ad to appeal to the unique brand of Palestinian Islamist feminism:
I mean, really, who needs such bourgeoisie women’s rights as the freedom to dress as they please, or legal protection from forced underage marriages, wife-beating and honor killings, when you can enjoy the more sublime freedom of marching in a military drill with automatic weapons, while receiving the most up to date training on how best to defeat the Zionist entity?
(Editor’s Note: In 2010 Hamas banned women from smoking water pipes, so the Virginia Slims campaign may have to be tweaked a bit before going into production so as not to run afoul of of Gaza’s “community standards”.)