The Real Who???
You are perfect unique and beautiful BUT you are fat and have zits so CHANGE!
TRIGGER WARNING: Talk about dieting and perfection.
If there is one thing that really irks me it is when a product that is dependent on selling me a message of self-dissatisfaction in order to then sell me their product to fix my newly acquired dissatisfaction, uses a self-acceptance message to sell me that product!!! Okay…that was NOT an easy sentence to read…so let me break it down by offering two recent examples.
In a recent article in The New York Times, there was a story about a new ad campaign for acne cream. The title of the article, Clean & Clear Videos Dare Not Speak Blemish’s Name, goes on to describe their new sales approach called, See the Real Me, which capitalizes on using the theme of building confidence in teenage girls. For some reason, the “I can be different and happy with being different” credo that the girls in the See the Real Me ads seem to be professing…does not generalize to their skin. It is a double message of the most egregious kind. At the same time they are emphasizing the importance of feeling good about yourself and embracing your uniqueness, they are still issuing the ultimate warning that despite how incredible you may be in so many ways you are still going to be judged if you have a zit on your otherwise wonderful, unique, brilliant, smart, and accomplished self.
“I feel like if I have a zit, no one’s really having a conversation with me, they’re having a conversation with my zit,” an animated teenager says as one spot opens. “I know that they’re looking at it,” says another, before others continue the theme: “Wow, look at that pimple.” “I’m like, hello, I’m right here.” “When I have clear skin, I feel like everybody can see the real me.”
AAAARRRGGGHHH! This burns me up! Having a zit IS the real you!!!!! If someone is obsessing over a pimple on your face, well I hate to be the first one to say this, but they need to get a life. I mean what additional evidence do you need to see that they are clearly superficial brainwashed people who have been watching way too many ads for how horrific pimples are?! Please, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying it is healthy to completely ignore acne and not take steps to clean your face and prevent infection and scarring if possible; but the reasons given in these ads are never about health or appropriate hygiene. Fact is, they are ALWAYS about whether or not we are attractive. Next to fat, zits seem to be the runner up for reasons to lock yourself up in your house and never show yourself in public until you are perfect…I mean look at all the havoc you are causing? Look at the grief you are inflicting on others who are forced to look at your fat pimply face?!
Example 2: Weight Watchers® is no newbie at taking the concepts of Health at Every Size® and Diets Don’t Work and weaving them into their recruitment ads for joining Weight Watchers. They are after all, NOT A DIET but a LIFESTYLE. Yup, a lifestyle that consists of eating 1200 calories or less a day carefully disguised in calling them points instead of calories. But a new Weight Watchers ad featuring Jessica Simpson is doing an exceptionally effective job hijacking the body-love, body positivity, body acceptance (or whatever you want to call it) message into her sales pitch for Weight Watchers.
At first, as I watched the ad, I felt myself getting very excited by hearing someone, not rail thin, speaking my language. No, I wasn’t thrilled by how she had to seductively pose, flaunt, and shimmy her way through the ad in her little black dress. I did, however, find it seductive in other ways. I especially resonated with the body appreciation exhibited towards her body as having given birth to her children. (It reminded me of a blog post I wrote about my pregnancy.) Until I realized that what Ms. Simpson was really saying was she could love her body as it is now because she knows she is on her way to a thinner better body by using Weight Watchers. She shifts into full blown sales mode when she tells us how simple it was to get a quick jump start on losing weight with their special jump start program. Right Jessica…you love and adore your miraculous body so much that you needed the fastest, quickest, most expedient way to change it.
EPIC FOUL! EPIC FAIL! I hate it when companies hijack Health at Every Size and/or self-acceptance messages in order to profit by selling products that are completely antithetical to the very foundations of those philosophies! Remember this quote by John Berger?
“The spectator-buyer is meant to envy herself as she will become if she buys the product. She is meant to imagine herself transformed by the product into an object of envy for others, an envy which will then justify her loving herself. One could put this another way: the publicity image steals her love of herself as she is, and offers it back to her for the price of the product.”
But what is worse? Sometimes I honestly don’t know. Is it better to:
- Get exposure to body positive messages in body hate ads that may put you on a new path that you may not have been aware of without the ad?
- Keep those ads true to the product they are selling by telling you that you are fat, you have zits, you are disgusting and miserable and now PLEASE do all of us a favor, buy our product, and go change!
What do you think? I really want to know!
I am so excited to announce that my book, Dr. Deah’s Calmanac, is now available in six bookstores in California! The latest addition will be in Oakland at: A Great Good Place for Books 6120 La Salle Avenue
The other bookstores are:
Books Inc- San Francisco 3515 California Street
Books Inc- Alameda 1344 Park Street
Book Passages- Corte Madera 51 Tamal Vista
Laurel Bookstore- Oakland 4100 MacArthur Blvd.
March 23, 2014, 4:00 p.m. I will be reading from The Calmanac at Insalata’s. 120 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, San Rafael, California 94960. (415) 457-7700.
April 3-7, 2014, I will be presenting at the American Society of Group Psychotherapists and Psychodramatists’ (ASGPP) annual conference in Oakland, CA. I will be signing copies of The Calmanac on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and presenting on Sunday at 1:15-2:45 on B.E.D. and Expressive Arts Therapy. CLICK HERE for more information.
April 9, 2014. I will be reading from and signing copies of Dr. Deah’s Calmanac at Laurel Bookstore, 4100 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland, CA. 94619 (510) 531-2073 at 7:00 p.m. My first bookstore appearance for The Calmanac hope to see you there! CLICK HERE for more information.
Til Next Time!