I recently read this Huffington Post article , re-read and felt compelled to post. The not so new topic of advertising, particularly in the health and beauty sector, always makes headlines of its own. I based a design project on the media's pressure to be a certain way, in every way, last year. It's a topic I love hearing opinions on, so let me know what you think!
"YOUR NATURAL HAIR COLOUR ISN'T PRETTY ENOUGH"
I once felt like my natural "mousy" light brown hair was "lacking colour". Those being my own words. I look back on my sixteen year old self, and reiterating what my parents told me at the time and since: There is nothing wrong with your natural hair colour. That's not to say I regret dying it (more the upkeep and colour build up, actually) but funnily enough, your natural hair colour more than likely suits you. Very much so. I am currently growing out the mid brown and embracing my natural hue. I'd like to think no advertising will change that belief.
NB. I am all for anyone dying their hair whatever colour they want as it is personal preference. That month, that year, fancying a change. I get it. But your natural hair colour probably is 'pretty' on you.
"YOUR BODY HAIR IS GROSS"
This, again, is very much down to personal preference and is well, rather personal. Interestingly, a recent Veet ad received backlash and was consequently removed for portraying a woman having body hair as repulsive to her boyfriend. This is one of those ads that can be perceived in a few ways. Personally I found it a little lazy as an advert but still a little funny and tongue-in-cheek, and not offensive. If a male really reacts like that to leg hair, they need to chill. It's just like the hair on his face, it grows. Big deal. However, I realise I am not all women and so I respect some found it insensitive.
Or how about artist Petra Collins' Instagram account being deleted due to showing a little hair down there. What do you think?
"YOUR SKIN IS TOO DARK" OR "ACTUALLY, YOUR SKIN IS TOO LIGHT"
The fact that such advertising has and does exist to promote extremes such as "skin lightening" or tanning injections is beyond me. I understand (loosely) that skin-lightening has been popular for decades in Asian markets, but many of these products are not pharmaceutically tested and potentially very dangerous. Mercury, anyone?
I once felt conscious of being pale. It had never been an issue until others seemed to point it out. Some jokingly, others "no seriously, why don't you fake tan?". FYI I tried it, felt so unlike me and haven't looked back. Today, I proudly slather on SPF50 when the sun comes out. Whether you feel "too pale" or "too dark", it's up to you and only you whether you change that. Preferably no dangerous measures though, oui?
"YOUR CELLULITE IS AN EYESORE, IT MUST BE BANISHED"
First thought: when papers/magazines do that awful thing where they 'highlight' (read: a big bold red circle) a celebrity's "cellulite". I condemn whoever first made such lazy journalism a thing. Cellulite, wobbly bits, a little more to love, whatever you want to call it, happens to the best of us. If you want rid of it, your choice.
"YOUR UNMANICURED NAILS ARE UNSIGHTLY"
I'll hold my - manicured - hands up and admit I'm rarely seen with unpainted nails. As I fear I'm beginning to repeat myself here...
I suppose the point I'm making is - and oh the irony of it being made on a beauty blog - is that essentially the media is a booming business. I know it's not just the media to blame, and not all brands mis-sell or play on insecurities, even the insecurities you didn't know you had, but less of the 'this is how you should look' would be appreciated. I love skincare and cosmetics as much as the next female but my self esteem rates a little higher and shall remain to.
I'd love to hear what you think!