How Companies Market Lies and Deception to Women
Victims of the Scheme
No person can give a definitive description of a perfectly beautiful person. Beauty can take the form of many things. Yet, according to modern media, beauty means being as thin as you possibly can without any visible flaws. Is that really what it should mean? In an attempt to earn a larger profit, advertisers have overstated their case. They have developed a problem which has been snowballing for the last several decades. Women want to be the type of woman these companies portray. This has major repercussions. The portrayal of the “ideal woman” is a money making scheme for many businesses and it inevitably causes major health and self-image problems for many young women.
Marketing products is obviously a healthy way to keep a business up and running. Marketing a product at the expense of other people is quite another thing. Whether it is makeup, lotions, diet products, clothes, or shoes, the models and actresses used in many ads are altered and done up to the point where they are hardly recognizable. Even people in many food ads eating pizza and cheeseburgers look a bit more like fitness models than people out dining. Is it necessary? Would L’Oreal make no money if they didn’t alter the image of the women in their commercials and ads as much? Even if they didn’t profit to their full potential, would it put them out of business? It is highly unlikely. The companies will admit they are doing these things to make money, but what they neglect is the problems they cause with women around the world. They set unrealistic expectations of women and assume that women everywhere will be perfectly ok and not think twice about going to extremes to become like their paid actresses. That is problem number one with the Medias image of women. It exists not to truly help women, but to sell them things and get them hooked. Cigarette companies want to keep people hooked on cigarettes. Companies in the business of beauty and fashion want to keep people thinking there is always one more thing to buy or do to get one step closer to that look they want everyone to chase after.
The first problem is what causes all the other problems, and the main one deals with health. “You can’t get the look with diet and exercise? Take a pill! You want a light skin tone but you are black? Rub this compound all over yourself! You can’t do anything about your big nose? Give it a snip!” The solutions companies offer to so call flaws, also come with serious health concerns. Much research has proven that things as simple as body lotion can contain chemicals that potentially cause cancer. Over the counter products we assume will always be safe, but that is not always true. More often than not, they are somehow dangerous to people. Many people have died under the knife of a plastic surgeon. That isn’t enough to convince companies to at least mention the subject. Many women will become bulimic or anorexic. By the time they finally realize what they are doing to their body, the damage has usually already been done. Bulimia, as useful as it is too looking skinny and trim, will kill someone a whole lot faster than they would likely prefer. The companies may claim they are not responsible for ignorant acts by teenage girls, but if it weren’t for their ads in the media, problems like these would be considerably lower. This can be proven by looking at the statistics of eating disorders and plastic surgeries in countries not as bombarded with this type of propaganda. Granted, these are all extreme cases, but are physical health issues the only problem with what the media does to women?
They are not. Imagine a girl from another country who is not exposed to the medias lies. She doesn’t wear makeup, dresses differently than we do here, isn’t bone skinny, but is still considered a beautiful young girl where she is from. She is happy. Then she comes to America. She is laughed at because she does not portray the “ideal woman” that we use as a model for beauty in this country. This poor girl will suffer social problems here that would have never been encountered where she came from. Her self-image will suddenly shift from being the beautiful, joyous young woman she was, to a woman on a mission to fit in with the corrupted population chasing after a dream that will never be realized. Self-confidence and self-image are two major factors in helping people cope with society and become socially healthy individuals. L’Oreal claims that they sell hope, not makeup. Now, maybe the products they sell do add a certain touch to some people. They may make someone look great. Still, putting a tiny supermodel as the ads star and altering her image is not truth. Selling “hope” as they put it, is to say that without their products, you look hideous. The message that their products make people look good insinuates that no one looks good before using them. It is a business model that relies on making women think they are naturally ugly. If we regard people as beautiful based solely on how they look or what they wear, we cripple the confidence of a lot more people than we realize. Still, advertisers refuse to portray anything other than altered women. Computerized images of women are not real women. Until it stops, young girls will continue to feel bad about themselves for not looking like someone from a Victoria’s Secret catalog, or a swimsuit model from Sports Illustrated.
So that is the dilemma. The world is blinded by magazines and TV ads portraying fake images of women so that they may meet quarterly budgets, all the while women around the world suffer because of it. Is that ethical? Was it ethical for Enron to lie to its employees and shareholders so that the big shots at the top could get a little extra cash in their wallet? How is it any different to make an extra buck at the expense of countless lives around the world? That is what is happening. Women suffer from lack of self-confidence, they lack social skills, they alter their own bodies with plastic surgery, or they die because of some horrible eating disorder. Yet, the lies continue to flood people’s everyday lives. In an effort to help women, companies need to change the motive of their businesses from unethical profiteering to really helping people with the products they sell. What they are doing is manipulating, not helping. This is an issue of ethics, and it needs to be dealt with as such. Until it is seen as an issue of ethics, money will always be agenda item number one.
- The Meaning of Beauty
A philosophical interpretation of what the true meaning of beauty really is.