An Audreybot

I'm a pretty big Audrey Hepburn fan. I enjoy her movies, I think she was a stunning woman who wore amazing clothes (how can you not when Givenchy is a personal friend?), and she seemed like a truly kind and giving woman. Outside of her career in Hollywood she was a mother and humanitarian. Much of her later life was dedicated to working for UNICEF. She was fluent in six languages. She was sixty-four when she died. All of these are just a few empty facts about someone who was no doubt a complex being and yet none of those facts or her complexity seem to matter because: she was very pretty. Why do I feel that this is what we are stating her worth was? The recent resurrection of her image for a chocolate commercial. It isn't the first time her image has been used to sell a product posthumously (Gap comes to mind), but unlike past commercials where actual footage from her films was used this time the company created a CGI version of the style icon...and I'm just left feeling very cold.
Is this a thing now--that 20 years after your death a robotic echo of your youth will be used to sell product? It just feels like such a shallow (not to mention creepy, her expressions in the commercial are as vacant as you'd expect from a zombie) reincarnation of a woman who was so much more than what she looked like in her early 20s. I suppose what bothers me the most is that it isn't Audrey. It isn't what she looked like in the 60s (which is when the commercial was set). It isn't a photograph she posed for, or a scene from a film she acted it. It's merely a re-creation of her appearance. That's it. It has none of her charisma, personality, and not to mention it lacks her consent (although permission was gained from her estate). To quote Audrey Hepburn herself, "The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years." There's no soul in this commercial and she hasn't been allowed to age. It's like they turned her into a blow-up doll for public enjoyment.
The fact that it is Audrey Hepburn is what caught my attention, but it just has me raising my eyebrows incredulously (once again) at our culture's obsession with appearances--especially in regards to women and youth. It just seems so wrong and reductive. Did anyone else feel bothered when they first spied the commercial?


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