Sunday, October 21, 2007

I won't be the girl advertisers want me to be

Blog Assignment Number Two



When companies make products like clothing, hair supplies, makeup, and credit cards, they are working with a very specific buyer in mind: the tall, beautiful, wealthy female (or simply, the perfect consumer). This girl wants to own one of everything, dress in accordance to the latest fashions, be on top of the most popular things at any given moment, and look gorgeous while doing all of it. Although this girl is an advertisement companies dream, she is often very far from the reality of teen girls today. I, and I know many of my friends and fellow students, try to not be this image of perfection, simply because we know it isn't what is real and it isn't what will bring us happiness in the end. Unfortunatly, advertisers and companies keep catering to this ideal by "...filling girls full of fluff and garbage - under the pretense that this is their reality," a move that writer Anastasia Higginbotham claims is "patronizing, cowardly, and just plain laxy" in her piece "Teen Mags: How to Get a Guy, Drop 20 Pounds, and Lose Your Self-Esteem." This creation of an ideal, and the way the advertising community feeds it to young girls and forces them to conform to it, are both dangerous and depressing for my generation. It makes girls feel like they cannot be different lest they be shunned and makes them strive for an unreachable state of perfection. In "The Feminist News-Journal" author Tizzy Asher argues that "...we cannot improve the self-esteem of girls unless we attack the infrastructure that hurts them...they must understand that they too are part of this media-driven, abusive culture." A huge part of this infrastructure Asher speaks of is the advertising industry, and like she says it is not until girls become aware of the problem, and the conflicting messages sent forth by the industry, that we will be able to break free of the stereotypes and conformity and be whomever we want to be.


Anastasia Higginbotham, "Teen Mags: How to Get a Guy, Drop 20 Ppunds, and Lose Your Self-Esteem," in Women, Images and Reality: A Multicultural Anthology," Third Edition. Amy Kesselman, Lily D. McNair, and Nancy Schniedewind (New York: McGraw Hill, 2003), 96.

Tizzy Asher, "Girls, Sexuality, and Pop Culture," "The Feminist News-Journal," May-June 2002, 26.