Self Image

A while back Dove (the soap company) released a video, Evolution, that got a ton of play on teh Intartubes. You can see it on YouTube here. It’s a time lapse video of a model being made up, photographed, photoshopped, and then put on a billboard. It’s pretty amazing to watch a pretty girl get transformed into a dream girl.

They recently released a second one (here) called Onslaught. In this one you see a gorgeous little girl of maybe 7 or 8, then you zoom through a montage of beauty ads, magazines, videos, weightloss gimmicks, and plastic surgery. It’s not as effective, but the message is just as important.

The message is, “Beware the Beauty industry” and it’s one that doesn’t get preached that well or often. Rowen is 9 and there is an entire industry targeted at her consisting largely of makeup and “fashion” clothes that are meant to train her into believing she needs all that crap in her life. And the people who might be able to reach kids to counteract that miserable lie are making money off it. All the big media outlets for “tweens” (I vomit a little in my mouth when I see that term) are a part of the machine. Disney and all the networks pump out extruded TV product that shows little girls as glamor queens and wrap it all in adds for play makeup and hair products.

There are places where you can get a different message. Surprisingly, American Girl does a decent job in their books of making it clear that none of that is needed. And Discover Channel puts out a magazine that I have high hopes for (we subscribed on the strength of one issue but have not yet begun receiving them). But not all kids are lucky enough to be exposed to those influences.

I don’t like legislation that tries to force adults to act responsibly. But these are kids, they don’t have a choice who their parents are and how they grow up. I don’t want to pass legislation preventing companies from advertising legal products, but maybe would could spend some tax dollars on helping other get out other messages.


2 Responses

  1. “But not all kids are lucky enough to be exposed to those influences.”

    More like not all kids are lucky enough to have parents who can see through the marketing blizzard.

    I am doing my part as a parent to help Lucas see through all this advertising for what it really is.

    I may be called a grumpy cynic, but my child will grow up knowing more about this stuff than most other kids. I can only hope that’s enough. (thank goodness I have a boy)

  2. Yeah, I’ll take credit for that. Rowen hears a constant refrain of “Why is that ad saying those things? Are they true? How do you know?”

    And it really is dangerous. The nightmare science fiction scenarios, where kids learn about nutrition from Ronald McDonald or about health from drug companies is not an impossibility. There is currently enough negative public opinion to keep large corps from exploiting their access to kids, but it might not always be that way.

    Already kids are used to seeing drug ads where for me it’s still a bit disconcerting every time I watch one.

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