Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dear daughter,

I always want you to feel like, in general, the human race is good and our drive is to become better. However, I would be doing you a great disservice if I did not point out where we need improvement. At this time in your life, when your body is in metamorphosis you are vulnerable to the persuasion of companies who profit off  your insecurities about your body.  They do it  by creating a feeling that you are not good enough and more recently, by using advertising campaigns whose purpose is to give some of the empowerment you will crave after believing you are not good enough.

You are my beautiful, smart, joyful girl, who is capable of amazing things, but unfortunately,
to corporations you are not a multidimensional human being with feelings, you are a consumer. Essentially, you are someone they can target and make money from. I give to you the commercial that had a very young me pinching my sides and being dissatisfied with my appearance, wishing I could just cut into my hips take out inches of skin and sew the sides back together.  This is Kellogg's "Can't pinch an inch" marketing scheme:

Now 30 years later, after profiting off of the idea that women should be slim, effectively teaching young women that their "inches" were undesirable, Kellogg's has decided to jump on the positive body image band wagon.

Kellogg's literally contributed to the very body issues that they are describing in this video. They made money putting women down, now they are making money building us back up.  At least they are bringing us back up right?  This is where social responsibility comes in.  Has Kellogg's formally taken responsibility for it's contribution to body image issues? I went to investigate their website myself. Though they discussed accountability and integrity under the heading of "Our Values", I searched the website and did not see an official statement, apologetic or otherwise about their "Can't Pinch an Inch" campaign.  If the company can't admit to their responsibility for harm done, they lack both integrity and accountability and really are just in it for your money.

Dove's Real Beauty campaign:

 Did you notice the women burning their bras?  This was a demonstration done by feminists, is has actually become iconic of feminism. In fact a slang term for the word feminist is "bra burner."Dove literally used feminism to sell their product and market themselves to feminists. However, the advertisement calling for models for this campaign had unrealistic expectations for women in their
commercials and photo shoots.  Flawless skin was just one of the perfections the models were
expected to have, reported during the peak of the campaign in 2010.   

So how can you be sure that you are purchasing from companies who aren't trying to profit from your insecurities?  You could buy as local as possible from small companies who don't run large advertising campaigns...  But more importantly, before you buy these products you could ask yourself: Am I buying this because I feel like I am not good enough with out it? Or am I buying it because it helps me celebrate the things I love about myself?  If your answer is the first one, you don't need it, take time before buying it to realize that you are whole and beautiful without it. If it's the second answer, then go ahead, but ask yourself first: is there an amazing experience I'd rather be spending this money on?

If you ever do find yourself in front of a mirror critiquing your body, please remember, that these negative voices in your head telling you that you are not good enough, were put there by thousands of images made by companies that need you to buy your beauty. I give you full permission to tell  those voices and the companies responsible for them to go f$ck themselves.