Monday, March 3, 2014

Unlearning the Myths That Blind Us: A Very Personal Argument

Last summer I enrolled in my First Year Writing course at RIC. The class was mainly focused on Pop Culture and one topic that particularly stood out to me was Advertising and America's Youth. I explored different ways the beauty and health industry targets teens and young adults into purchasing unecessary and rediculous products to alter their appearance. The power of propaganda and advertising is what made Health and Beauty a multi-billion dollar industry. Today, America's youth is engulfed in stereotypical patterns. Our society portrays different types of people through race, sex and physical appearance. Children's cartoons, movies and literature enter a child's life at a very young age.

Our fix is that Calvin Klein push-up bra, Guess Jeans, Chanel lipstick, and the latest in suede flats. We don't call it deception; we call it good taste. And soon it feels awkward going to the mailbox without makeup. 

I can relate to this quote extremely well. I call B.S. for many people who hashtag #nomakeup #nofilter on Instagram in their lovely daily selfies. "We all know the culprit: being force-fed a steady diet of fictional female bodies that are about as authentic as a newly discovered Vermeer painting." The only reason I argue against the whole "let's show ourselves without no makeup to make it seem like we love natural beauty" thing is because I am willing to admit that I feel extremely uncomfortable being out in public without makeup on. Because I have experience with this issue, this is one of the purest examples of how society has tampered not only with my self confidence but every women's self confidence in our world.

I can remember watching many Disney movies and playing with Barbie's as a little girl. I watched my two younger sisters grow up thinking that if you didn't look like Cinderella or the super model on every magazine cover then you weren't considered beautiful. Society is finally changing the way brands and companies reach out to children and teens through the media. Many retail brands are creating campaigns that show the real body types of women in their advertising. One is example is the #AerieReal campaign. American Eagle's spinoff lingerie brand, Aerie, is showcasing un-retouched photos of models featuring moles, stretch marks and tattoos, giving their appearance more of a "real"look. The models are still gorgeous and in my opinion are still pretty skinny to show a real women's body. However, props to them for creating a campaign that can help women become unblinded by the negative stereotypes forced upon them through our ever so judgmental society.

I still think music, movies and television are not doing anything for children and they still have that hidden message of racism and discrimination in their plots and story lines. Some children are able to see that the servants in cartoons are usually fat and poor and that not every fat and poor person is a servant, but some children are so blinded by the routine patters they see in movies and television that it becomes human nature to them. Whatever way we look at it, we have been blinded by these myths for so long that it is molded into our culture and society. Is there a turning point in the future where we could be withdrawn from these mindsets?



  1. It's great that you decided to kind of focus on the health and beauty side of things. Personally, the idealization of certain body types and people's resulting lack of self esteem actually legitimately angers me. When you have people who are perfectly attractive, normal individuals who don't feel good about themselves, you know something is wrong with society. Thanks for focusing on that issue, because it's so incredibly important. Great job!

  2. I agree with Kevin. The beauty aspect of this article is a serious issue in our society. I really like the question at the end. It's a great question because we don't have the answer. I think we can create an answer in the future. Thanks for asking the question that needed to be asked. Great post!