Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Image and self esteem

Here is a popular icon of the "modern life" religion:
Is the "super model" our contemporary Aphrodite ?
Are these pencil thin women looking like angry, pissed off teenage boys, the image of feminine beauty and grace?
...Not in my opinion and not in the view of anybody I know.

You might think that after spending billions in market research and advertising, the people in charge of the fashion industry and its media propaganda machine would have figured out what beauty looks like.

Well, they have!
Watch any beer commercial or any other TV or print add that targets the male population and you will see lots of - actually only - attractive young women.
Women with voluptuous shapes, smiling faces and sex appeal galore.
None of the super models in those ads.
Why? Because they know what men like and consider attractive.

So then what are the fashion magazines full of super models?
Well, by the look of it they are selling stuff: clothing, jewelery, accessories and cosmetic products for women.

How many women actually identify themselves with this image?
Not many I know of.
Actually according to the statistics over 60% of the adult women in USA are overweight.
So if you want to sell to the American women shouldn't the models be representative of that population?
After all, all the men in the Viagra commercials look eerily like me and not like male models :)

So, if the "super model" is not the goddess of beauty and they are not selling garments and cosmetics what purpose do they serve?
They are selling low self esteem!
That's right. They are selling an impossible to achieve self image.
They are selling self loathing and self contempt.

Why would they do that?
Because happy, content, secure, self assured, self loving women and men don't buy crap they do not need in order to make them feel better!

(It is a sad marketing deception - much like Microsoft selling you a crappy operating system so then they can sell you the new and improve crap that will fix the old crap.
But it is actually a trap, because no matter how many operating system you will buy you will never get one that really works because that would put Microsoft out of business :)

Same concept: The fashion industry sells you low self esteem through the "super model" icon and then offers to fix that by selling you the crap that is supposed to make you feel good about yourself.

And don't get me wrong. They do that with the men too.
The American male is the model of sexual frustration and low self esteem.
It is just that we don't kill ourselves trying to maintain that pencil thin anorexic look.
We just keep on buying that beer, hoping that one day if we buy the right beer we will get laid by those voluptuous girls in the commercial :)


Flight said...

"They are selling low self esteem!"
I agree, Make the population unhappy then sale them happiness on the clothes rack and ice cream chest.

"We just keep on buying that beer, hoping that one day if we buy the right beer we will get laid by those voluptuous girls in the commercial"
I disagree, I keep buying beer hoping all the girls that I have a chance with will start looking like those voluptuous girls in the commercial :D

Talon said...

The funny thing is how much women and men aspire to be the very things they never can...

Flight said...

Buddha said...

@ Flight – LOL – Now that make more sense!
I do not drink beer – at least not American beer so I just assumed that :)
I checked out the link you sent me – brilliant! And I quote:
“The seven deadly sins, ad agency wags often say, are the key to selling products. Fear, envy, greed, hatred, and lust: these are the basic tools for good propaganda and effective advertising. By far, the most powerful motivating emotion—the top, most-sought-after copy writers will tell you, in an unguarded moment—is fear, followed closely by greed.”

@ Talon – As Buddha would say -
Desire is the source of our suffering.

Miss Pidgin said...


I THOUGHT I had forget to leav a message to you. I think you are technical enough,

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Yeah, all true - but then: would anyone in the world really have made any fuss whatsoever over Susan Boyle if she'd been young, slim and looked like Britney Spears? Nope.

I'm not sure that the idea is to be aspirational with these - but maybe to make us feel inferior? We can never be size zero, leggy blondes so we go out and buy things to make ourselves better: thus putting money in their pockets?

It's a thought at any rate

Brigit said...

Yep, Very much based around self esteem issues, but maybe not just the buyers self esteem. Years ago when I was very young and even skinnier than I am now I did a bit of catwalk modelling and the odd TV commmercial. Not only was I flat chested and very thin, I have a scarred nose, and was trying to prove that even as imperfect as I was, I was beautiful and desirable. Just a point of view from someone who did some modelling.

Aggie said...

I agree they are selling low self-esteem. Talk about screw up the minds of young people. We should be able to sue them.

Sylvie said...

Dead on, sir. They are showing you what you can't be, while telling you it's what you should strive to be. That sells a lot of products.

If you can't have the bod, you'll still by the clothes hoping you'll get close. Then you'll buy the drugs and cosmetic enhancements to try to get the bod. When that doesn't work you buy the ice cream to soothe your weary heart.

The weird thing is, the runway models aren't attractive. They generally look unhappy, and haughty. And if you actually had an intimate relationship with them, you'd get bruises all over from their boniness.

It works, because the opinion makers have trained people to prefer even a creepy charade over real life.

Buddha said...

@ Miss Pidgin – You are just too kind to me :)

@ Pixie – But that is exactly my point.
Why do we look at her and see an ugly woman when we should look at her and see a beautiful human being?
Children don’t see that way.
We have to be programmed to hate and judge, it is not the way God intended us to be.

@ Brigit – All human beings are perfect, beautiful and desirable :)

@ Aggie – Absolutely!
They are killing the innocence and joy of our young people for a profit – much like the wars we are waging :(

@ Sylvie – LOL – need some cushion for the pushin’!
If I am young enough to know that, then you shouldn’t call me sir 
Call me BoH like everybody else.