Long before Mad Men hit the air waves I have forever been interested in advertisersâ€™ role in our lives. Their mission must have started out as just that of selling products but somewhere along the way it turned into telling us how to live, what to want, and what look to aspire to.
Women have been bombarded with it for decades and men have recently been included in the games; they are told hairless, muscular bodies are desirable (if you are old enough to recall the famous Burt Reynolds poster you know how far away from that we are today, though Iâ€™m not worried about bulimia and anorexia in men as I am in women and young girls). Then again, kidney failure from steroids is just as dangerous, just not as easy to apply and not as common, yet.
I see ads using 17-year-old models selling me (at 40) anti-wrinkle cream and canâ€™t help but think of the scene from Michael Mooreâ€™s â€œCapitalismâ€ where the dog keeps jumping up and down in an attempt to get some food from the dinner table. Exhausting. Ridiculous. Degrading. And impossible. Yes, they have started using older actresses recently, sensing the need to â€œrelateâ€ to me more effectively; so women in show business for 30 years with a lifetime of skin care & treatments I canâ€™t afford plus 6 hours of the worldâ€™s best hair, make-up, lighting, photographers, and then another 24 hours of professional editing and photoshopping crew are what I can relate to more? Ah, but itâ€™s working for the most part â€“ sales are up.
Make up might help, working out definitely helps, expensive hair doâ€™s add to the look, clothes, creams, surgery,… 900 billion con$umer dollar$ later, if you arenâ€™t born 6 feet tall with Barbie proportions and flawless physique (yes, I am talking about the 99.96% of the population with cellulite), …do I need to finish this sentence?
Every era has its style and our era happens to treat the size 0 as the living goddess. Itâ€™s a fact we canâ€™t escape and though there are plenty of people singing the â€œbeauty from withinâ€ song, I have to stand up and say itâ€™s a farce. The average woman is not coveted on the cover of Vogue nor is she the one who stops construction workers from working. From the most elite circles and runways in fashion to the most humble every day scenario, we are all clearly brainwashed into what beauty looks like. Is the everyday woman in the Dove ad getting paid $15,000 an hour like the LancÃ´me model?
So whatâ€™s the solution? My honest answer (let me state right here I am not going to publish any responses to criticism â€“ and I know there will be many), my honest feeling is: there is no solution. Our society covets certain looks and for those who donâ€™t have it, it is simply tough luck. And genetics is strictly luck. Ad people at the highest level know what Iâ€™m saying and have tapped into it 100 ways from Sunday: â€œmaybe sheâ€™s born with it…â€ uh-huh, and for those not born with it, this little tube of lipstick will get you there. Back to the little dog from Capitalism.
What I havenâ€™t figured out is this: even a squirrel can figure out pretty quickly that pressing the button on the right gets a peanut and pressing the button on the left gets an electric shock â€“ so why do we keep pouring billion$ into products that canâ€™t reverse aging, canâ€™t get rid of cellulite, canâ€™t canâ€™t canâ€™t. Why do we let slick ad people tell us they have managed to beat Mother Nature? Media Mania. Very effective brain washing of the entire population in the developed world.
â€œAccept yourself for who you are and just try to be your bestâ€. Yes. I completely agree. Now ask me if I want to attend a cocktail party in a room filled with eligible bachelors, supermodels (thatâ€™s the 0.04% of genetic accidents) and me? I may have come to terms with what hand I was dealt at birth and done my best with it but I certainly donâ€™t want to be at that party. Let me restate I am completely prepared for the criticism I am about to face for this article and have no desire to defend any opinions, they are just personal observations & opinions â€“ not an attempt to convince anyone to change their views. The fact remains too many women are literally dying and causing organ failure in attempts to look like underwear models (thank you Calvin Klein for deciding the waif look is â€œinâ€) and too many women spend their lives in and out of grueling diet phases.
I am not offering any advice or solutions to the Jumping Dog Syndrome (itâ€™s not lost on a lot of us that the profit$ lie in offering us products that can never deliver, they just keep varying the ads and we just keep buying the products).
I wonâ€™t offer advice but I will offer my perspective: awareness helps. Recognizing the impossible helps. Looking at a billboard of the butt of a 13-year-old selling cream and consciously thinking â€œyeah rightâ€ instead of â€œI wish I looked like thatâ€ or â€œif I looked like that I would…â€ helps.
In my ordinary humble opinion, not getting caught up in the Hollywood/magazine/advertising mania helps. It helps to get out of the Beauty Matrix and deprogramming our brains into thinking we can modify ourselves to perfection. It wonâ€™t change what is coveted, but it might help save for a down payment on a house. Equity never fades ladies. Invest your time and money into yourself in a manner that doesnâ€™t defy logic, Mother Nature, evolution, or the law of gravity.