When I started working on the Authentic Me Campaign, I had a goal…To redefine the word BEAUTY in this country. As a woman pushing 60, one of my concerns was the way society viewed my age group. I was annoyed at the messages I was receiving from the advertising world. If you want to be truly happy, accepted and most importantly, admired by others, you better buy our products and services!
These messages are being sent out to all age groups. We are constantly being told what is beautiful and what is not!
An example of this is a commercial for an acne cream that profiles young people before and after using a certain product. The before is a photograph intended to make the person look like a pitiful, unattractive loser who is miserable. Then the camera zooms in to a smiling face that is flawless! It often includes a gushing testimonial…Message viewer receives…People will love you if you are B-E-A-U-T-F-U-L!! The joke is…Most of those after faces have been airbrushed to appear flawless!
Here is an excerpt from an online testimonial for an over the counter acne cream. It was written by a former Miss America. I have deleted the name of the product because my intention is to have you carefully read her words!!
******* definitely helped me become Miss America. I don’t think I would have ever made it that far without it. ******* gave me the beautiful skin I always wanted. And it gave me the confidence I needed to walk across the Miss America stage and show the judges that I could do the job, that I could uphold the image, maintain the integrity of the Organization, and represent American women across the United States.
What image is this young lady upholding? How is her flawless skin maintaining the integrity of the Organization? What message is this kind of advertising sending out to our young women?
I’m going to give my readers an assignment. Take a pad and pencil and write down every commercial and ad (television, online, magazine) that you watch or read in the course of your week that sends out a message that you can be more physically appealing if you use their product or service!
Send your comments* to firstname.lastname@example.org
*Your comments may be published in a future column. Only first names will be used unless permission is received from the contributor.