♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
In years gone by, clothing stores, makeup manufacturers and the like have only used models with those perfect bodies and skin to show us their products. How do you feel about this? Would you like to see “real” people in ads?
Welcome back to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop! If you’re new to the series, the authors included are grateful for your reads and appreciate, even more so, when you share our writings with your friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Be prepared to become a regular reader.
We’ve all been there. You know, walking through the drugstore looking for the cold medicine, or some hand lotion for your desk at work. It likely happened to you way earlier than that, like when you were holding mom or grandmom’s hand as they were looking for the medicine. You probably tried to get a candy bar out of it. As you walked up the aisles, the eyes on the makeup display followed you and you wondered if this goop would really make your eyes ever look like theirs. And, how come the way that they already looked wasn’t good enough? You probably looked to mom or grandmom and wondered why they didn’t bother, or maybe they did, but the results were way short.
Then, you probably got a good look at the full ideal in catalogs. They were tall, thin, with impeccable hair and every outfit looked amazing on them. Even the kids. That image stuck with you, as you got ready for school in the morning or brushed your teeth before bed. You wondered that if you could manage to shape up like them, if people would like you more. Maybe things would come your way more easily. Perhaps that boy you were interested in would talk to you if your hair was done like that girl you saw in the JC Penney sale flyer. Parades of ideal figures, passively shaming your body…
I don’t think it was the Barbies. I never looked at Barbie as an ideal figure. Perhaps, somehow she backed up this ideology I was seeing in catalogs, in stores, on television and in movies. But, I didn’t much care for Barbie, either way. So, I ignored her, for the most part. Star Wars was far more interesting to me. I looked up to Princess Leia, fresh faced and not too made up. Still, that blond was everywhere telling me that I wasn’t meeting the ideal look a girl or woman should have. Copper brown hair and blue eyes, I was just different enough to not be good enough.
But, why was I falling short? A few things came to mind. My family wasn’t wealthy, for starters. I couldn’t afford those great clothes or hours at the salon. No one was coming to do my make up, and I wasn’t about to go to the Clinique counter and drop a few hundred to get the latest look. Secondly, I was born with a pretty great shape, but I liked eating and hated to work out. I was thin for a good portion of my childhood, and it worried my great gran, making her ply me with baked goods. Unfortunately the outcome was food addiction. Folks think that’s not real, but I challenge you to ruin your relationship with food, and then try to come back from it. The sad thing, unlike smoking, you can’t just quit eating, so you’re constantly giving yourself a little fix. That makes fighting the addiction impossible. I wish more people would get that, instead of saying people are just lazy. I’d love them to feel what I do, that agonizing drive to eat that is unstoppable and makes you crazy. To them, I guess I’d say, imagine that instead of that need to work out, you had that level of need to eat. I don’t know how to tell people to empathize outside of that. So between these two things, I struggled to meet an ideal set by society. In my later teens and twenties, I had it down, but I let it go, because I was tired of it. Honestly, it didn’t help me get anything. Sure, I got compliments, but the men I liked didn’t talk to me more than they did before. Jobs didn’t fall in my lap. Money didn’t rain from the sky. My books didn’t get published. I got to be an extra, but I was afraid to really drive harder on that and screw up my lines if I ever had any.
In more recent years, who I wanted to be and what I really wanted to do really gelled. Clothes and makeup are still nice things, however, I like to be comfortable sitting at my desk all day. What I chose to wear now is informed by a need to draw less attention to my sense of style and more attention to my marketable skills as a writer. I won’t get into my #MeToo’s here, but they’re part of my reasoning. The only thing, though, that has saved me from harassment is getting older. Being young, beautiful, and vulnerable is a dangerous mix in the hands of entitled predators, who will use the way a woman looks as an excuse to abuse her.
One thing I keep up is doing my hair color. I really like doing this, and It’s more about what I like to do now than meeting an ideal. Years and years have passed and I can hardly think of another way to do it. No other style has struck me as worth trying—except that reverse bob fiasco a few years back. Shudders.
The movement to include a more diverse cast of looks in media is absolutely a good thing for all women’s futures. However, there are a few hiccups that are in the way. Firstly, women have been taught to fight among ourselves for centuries by the dominating group. It keeps us holding the status quo against ourselves. I’d like to see women not feel compelled to make fun of other women, or ridicule and bully each other for any reason. Let us not attack her appearance when we disagree, but attack the points where we find disagreement. Secondly, making a broader range of ideals can bring negative attention. Think of the MILF trend. Should how we look be an excuse? NEVER. But we women know that it’s much harder to fly under the radar when our type is being advertised all over the media. Lastly, we have to change hearts and minds across the board, and people will push back, especially those who felt they were the target of the ideology, such as men thinking sexy women in adverts was all about them and their enjoyment (which it really was—Mad Men (2007) was a great show about all that).
Can the change be made? Sure it can. Don’t expect it to be the same animal, though. It fundamentally changes how we approach beauty, perhaps detaching it from titillation more than a little bit.
I could go on about the implications of this. But, instead, let’s see what the other authors have to say about the subject…
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