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Those who pay the piper.
Advertisers don't actually want you to feel good about yourself.
Whether we like it or not, public opinion about beauty is often presented in the media by the wants of advertising companies.
“What editors are obliged to appear to say that men want from women is actually what their advertisers want from women.”
― Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth
Jessica Defino’s substack The Unpublishable (link at the end of this blog), highlights some of the ridiculous situations out there about the beauty industry and the manipulative methods employed by companies to make us believe that we need their products.
What we often fail to understand is that a lot of the research and advertising that contributes to the increasing drivers of body insecurity and shame are funded by groups trying to sell us something to overcome the insecurity that they themselves have created.
Cosmetic manufacturers and clothing makers are all dependent on us being unhappy with our self-image and will offer no end of options to try and make us feel better about our appearance.
The last thing these advertisers and companies want is for us to actually feel good about ourselves.
Advertisements are designed to lighten your wallet or purse. They are designed to convince you to spend your money on things. Advertisers don't really want you to have flawless skin or a smoother shave, those are things that they tell you you can have in exchange for your money. They rely on the fact that your skin will never be flawless or smooth so that they can sell you something else next week.
Our vanity and insecurities ensure that we are easily manipulated into consuming increasing amounts of products in environmentally damaging plastic packaging. We recently went to stay with my brother and sister-in-law, whom I consider intelligent and ecologically aware, but there were no fewer than 10 skin and hair products lined up in the shower cubicle, all in plastic packaging, some with micro-beads, and all with no doubt brilliant advertising campaigns behind them.
While the majority of advertising is aimed at women, men are not immune from increasingly aggressive marketing strategies.
Too much body hair, not enough hair on the head.
Men are starting to realise the pressures that women have been under for decades thanks to a shift in focus from advertisers.
Cosmetics companies, unable to sell more products to their traditional market, women, are turning to men to try and increase sales.
From moisturisers for male skin to scrotum deodorant, companies are looking for new ways to create insecurities within half the population that, up until recently, have largely been ignored.
While not a beauty product, I recently heard a radio advert for a cleaning product, where someone asked “What are the ingredients?", to which the reply was “Value”. Never mind the inconvenient chemicals that may be used or the effects on the environment, you can ignore all that because their product contains value. Advertisers are well known for accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative, but if the only ingredient that they are willing to tell you about is value, it makes me wonder what the negatives might be.
Advertisers will say anything to get you to buy stuff you don’t need. They will use manipulative language to persuade you that their product will solve a problem that you didn’t know you had.
Furthermore, advertisers are not averse to using nudity, or near nudity to entice people into buying products. There are multiple examples where a beautiful young airbrushed person is shown basking in the euphoria that some product promises.
There are numerous examples where the term nude is used to describe something as natural and healthy, and I have written on that topic previously, (link at the end of this blog). Nude food (no additives), nude skincare (looks natural), nude packaging (do your bit for the environment). Recycled plastic is still plastic.
I find it amusing that people equate nude products with being healthy and natural, but consider nude people to be odd and threatening.
Even though the majority of the population considers nudity something to be avoided, they line up to buy products that use the term nude.
Living a lifestyle according to a philosophy that celebrates the body while reducing body shame and insecurity appears to be something that we should all aspire to. This way of thinking is also an antidote to the manipulative strategies of advertisers.
Gail Dines once asked us to imagine how many industries would go out of business if women suddenly started liking their bodies.
Advertisers don’t want us to be happy with our looks or comfortable in our skin. They need us to be insecure.
Perhaps the reason that more people are unwilling to consider nudism and the demonstrated benefits of living your life around a naturist philosophy, is that advertisers don’t want us to be comfortable with ourselves. Perhaps they are manipulating us to reject the very things that can free us from their influence.
Without body shame or insecurity, companies and advertisers stand to lose a lot of money. Your money.
“Advertising: the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.”
– Stephen Leacock
Thank you for reading. Have a comfortable day.
Blue skies, smiling at me.
Yes, the grass can be greener and the sky can be bluer.
Jessica Defino, The Unpublishable.
A Comfort Of Naturists, Brand Nude, (Aug 2022). https://aconnz.substack.com/p/brand-nude