Monday, December 13, 2010

What flaws do you see?

Yesterday I was reading some articles on Helium and I came across an article (debate, really) about whether or not the media really effects the images young women have of themselves.

I think that you already know my stance on that particular subject, but I was newly struck by something one of the writers said:  "Years ago, advertisers realized that if they chose any aspect of the female body and called it 'a flaw', they could then make up and market products that were previously unnecessary, and make them sell like hot cakes."  This is why our hair is too dry, too oily, too shiny, not shiny enough, too curly, too straight, the wrong color... and the list goes ON - because advertisers have taken EVERY SINGLE characteristic we can have, and said that it's WRONG - so we need this or that THING to make it right.


I wanted to point this out because last night I was lying there in bed talking about it to my poor husband, who really just wanted to be sleeping.  The ones that got to me the most were the ones about hair - especially the one that says that there's something wrong with having grey hair.  Grey hair is so beautiful!  The Bible even talks about grey hair as a crown of splendor (Proverbs 16:31)!  But we bend to this advertising mayhem that there's something WRONG with aging!

The advertisers don't stop with grays - they also say your hair is too thin or too curly or too limp or too straight or too brown or too blonde or too red or too uneven or too even or...  pick a characteristic - there's an advertiser saying it's "unsightly".

They even tell us that our PORES are unsightly!  Really?  I have NEVER EVER noticed someone else's pores.  Back when I was watching commercials on a semi-regular basis I used to check my pores in the mirror - "Oh, gosh, they're so BIG!  I hate them!"  I did this.  I really did.  I bought into the whole thing.

The funny thing is, it wasn't a month later that I was reading about remedies to OPEN your pores to reduce toxins.

What's a girl to do?  They're unsightly but I need to open them...  better buy BOTH products and then I can open them and Quick!  Close them back up again!

What a disaster!

It hurts my heart to know that there are these LIES that we all buy into so easily.

It's not just us girls.  Men too are prone to all these lies.  A friend of mine mentioned "man-scaping" on a previous post  - where men get their chest hair, etc. waxed so they can get rid of the, you guessed it!  "Unsightly" chest hair.

What happened to eating stuff so you could GET hair on your chest?

And after-shave - truly, some horrible person invented that stuff - that stuff BURNS!  (not that I've tried it...you know...just watched Home Alone as a kid...)

And God forbid you should go BALD or have facial hair, or NOT have facial hair - or have long hair...or short hair, or wear glasses, or ...

Either way - both genders are attacked.  Ladies and gentlemen, be canny.  Look out for each other and know what you're watching.  Think about the five OTHER commercials that totally cancel THIS particular commercial out.  And when someone tells you that you really should worry about your stretch marks since your last pregnancy - check 'em out.  Really LOOK at them.  There is beauty in the battlescars.  There is beauty in all of our "flaws".  Without them, ladies and gentlemen, the world would be an awfully boring place.

Love.

7 comments:

Deborah said...

So, are you saying that there is something wrong with wanting your hair to be a certain color or your skin to have a certain tone or texture? Personally, I am not ready for grey hair, which mine probably would be completely by now. I know I would not feel good about how I look and I don't think it would necessarily be a nice shade of grey.

Coloring it a color I like and that I feel goes with my skin tone and wardrobe is about the only thing i do for myself in the way of beautification - no nails, no makeup, etc. I'm just wondering if pushing back against what society tells us to do means that I should feel bad about doing even that?

Missy said...

I don't think you have to feel bad about anything you want to do when it comes to feeling good about yourself. I just think that the media takes advantage of and even creates insecurities and we should be aware of that, instead of letting advertising make us feel like we are less than.

Missy said...

PS - I plan to have purple hair very soon. I think it's cool that I have this option, and that others have it too - but I DON'T like that it is so often marketed in a way that makes us feel bad about ourselves so we'll buy it.

tpeterr said...

"There is beauty in the battlescars."

This is priceless! I've a few battle scars myself. One of them is a receding hairline that my wife says looks fine. Is she wrong? :-D

Related trivia: The Listerine company invented the world "halitosis" as a stand in word for bad breath. It doesn't mean anything different, but since it sounds like a medical condition they sold a ton of mouth wash.

Also...You would look awesome in Purple hair. Just watch out around those pesky Steelers fans.

Deborah said...

I do totally get what you are saying, though. I should loan you a book by a business caoch on women in the workplace. We got it at a women's conference. It made me mad. You can check it out at the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/Nice-Girls-Dont-Corner-Office/dp/0446531324

Some of what she says is valuable. Most of it is probably true. But it shouldn't be. Unfortunately it just perpetuates the game until the women who do break the glass ceiling do something to change the perceptions.

Missy said...

Thanks so much, Peter - every comment you make about my writing means a ton - you've got quick a pen yourself - but you know that ;-)

Thanks about the hair - watch it about the Steelers :-)

That's crazy about Listerine - I had no idea!

Deborah - Uh oh - I'm scared to check out the link. I think I know what you're saying though - women feel like they have to compensate for something when they make it to a position of power - but I'll stop talking til I'm educated on what the book really says. Thanks for the second comment.

Missy said...

Checked out the link - pretty much what I imagined - interested that it talks about societal norms for female physicality. Things we don't even notice we do, but things that are ingrained in us. Something I studied a lot during Butterfly. And you're right - these things are true - especially the way we change our behavior around men in general, without even thinking about it - putting on a certain weaker facade - these things are learned, but also cultural.

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