Like it or not, the media holds up false and contrived standards of beauty that rely mostly on outer appearances. The only way to combat the constant onslaught of media’s attack on our own ideas of self-worth and healthy body-image, is to become aware of the games they play.
Here are some things to think about as you browse the Internet, watch films and TV, and read magazines. Advertisements aim to move us into action.
- How does this image / message make me feel?
- Is this media image trying to make me feel insecure?
- Is this advertisement playing on my fears?
- Is this message / image encouraging me to compare myself to others or does it respect me as a unique human being?
- Is the media message / ad image aiming to be of service or does it simply want to manipulate how I feel about myself and push me to act by buying a product or service it offers?
Why’s it important?
If we accept that advertisers subtly disrespect us, if we consider this is the norm, then how can we be in a healthy relationship with ourselves and others?
The insidious thing about advertising is that advertisers draw on huge amounts of research and studies about human behavior. Nothing’s left to chance. They know what colors make us feel warm or cool and what makes us feel insecure. They know how to make us feel happy or create a need we didn’t know we even had.
Some womens’ magazines say that they are “for women”, but their pages slam us with ads that show us how we don’t look thin enough, or young enough, or pretty enough. They show only one body type (usually excessively thin), and one very limited age group.
How would ads and media look if instead of trying to push us to buy something and change how we look and are, they simply said, “You’re beautiful as you are”? Dove has created a global advisory panel to help sort out some of these issues. Dr. Tara Cousineau talked with me about body image and media on my live radio show, “Divinely Inspired Living”.
Beauty products company, Weleda, aims to create advertising that “respects the individual and promotes harmony between humans and nature.” I traveled to Weleda to interview the managers. Founded by Rudolph Steiner in the 1920’s, Weleda continues to be a model company. It sources products from “bio-dynamic” or organic farming and has long sought to work to respect nature.
Weleda knows how most companies play on insecurities and fears. It consciously uses images in advertising that focus on nature and natural beauty. While I’m not doing an ad for Weleda, I feel we need companies who provide us with good examples and show that it can be done. They reveal a different business model. Weleda has been successfully working in this conscious and respectful way for nearly 100 years. It’s not a fad for the company to rely on human values. The results: an enduring company that continues to offer nature-respecting beauty creams and products, in tune with nature and respectful of human beings.
Copyright Debra Moffitt, 2016. No portion of this blog or posts may be reused or copied without prior written permission. See “About” page for conditions.
Debra Moffitt is an award-winning author (www.awakeintheworld.com). Read more at www.debramoffitt.com. She leads retreats in Europe and presents workshops on writing, intuition, and creativity in the U.S. and Europe.