Cathy here, I am still laughing over the image in my head of braiding underarm hair! (See the comments on the post, 'Women's Beauty Products- Revisited)
I have been on a bit of a soapbox lately over the issue of women and beauty. In the past I have written posts on removing unwanted hair and on the issue of why we women continue to spend so much money on beauty products. I wonder if my fellow ladies are tired of this subject. I did mention a few posts back about the possible conflict of information companies publish depending on what they want to sell. Well, the company I am wondering about is the one who makes, 'Dove' products. There was a video going around called, "Evolution". It was really interesting. It showed the evolution of a model getting ready for a photo shoot. After they had all the layers of makeup and hair done and had taken the photograph, they then showed how the photo is altered digitally to 'enhance' the image. It is this image which was being promoted. The point of the video is that not all we see is real. It is impossible to attain that image for ourselves as it is not really possible. We need to be comfortable with who we are. It's a good message:
(Sunshine)In the end it's just an image. We can all choose to believe it or not. I personally don't necessarily believe that people in my life look that much different then those people on TV. People come in all different shapes and sizes and beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. I think that today there are so many good messages that balance out the unrealistic messages. There are commercials about being anorexic and bullying and so many other things. Everyone has something about them that they would like to change. Confidence comes from within. Education promotes intelligent positive thoughts that we as parents can pass onto our children. Building their self confidence is so important. I do find myself to be a very confident person. I would like to loose weight because of health reasons and also because I would love to have more energy and I would definitely look and feel much better. That does not mean that I am down on myself or that the images on TV distort my views on how I should look. I know what a realistic weight should be. Try watching this show "How To Look Good Naked." It shows what you would probably call a "real" woman instead of the perfect woman. Does size really matter? The women on this show start out very self conscious and by the end of the show they are on the runway in front of thousands of people in their bras and underwear and at some point they have a naked photo shoot (they are posed in certain ways to not reveal as much). It's about loving yourself. Dove has fantastic commercials! I think that society and television is catching up with how we decide what is healthy in life and how to achieve it. The media cannot be blamed for what comes out of my mouth when I voice an opinion about someone's looks. (Carolin) I am not real sure where to go with this. As some of you know our family has been dealing with a daughter and her eating disorder for 5 years now. How we feel about our bodies is huge to our self esteem. But because we live in a fallen world we are constantly bombarded with negative influences. I hope that the women of this day are too savey to fall for the advertising tricks. But our own peers are our worst enemies. Just yesterday while at work and watching the senior girls basketball game against another high school. The girls comments that were going back and forth about the weight, height, and colour(!!) of the girls on the opposing team was horrendous. And yes, because I can't keep my mouth shut, I did call them on it! Which the response was "uh sorry miss I didn't know you were behind me" .
A few day after seeing that video, I find a blog devoted to the hypocrisy of the head company, Unilever:
Then a friend sent me this link to an article about a skin whitening cream used by women in India:
Now, please keep in mind that the above links, except for the 'Evolution' video are other peoples opinions. I do not say here that they are factual, only opinions. However, as in past posts, they are still influential depending on the mindset of the person reading them. Change the mind set, change the reader. We have to love ourselves and teach our children to love themselves. We can tell our kids we love them and they are great all we want but a time comes when the opinions of friends or worse yet a unfriendly peer is more important than ours. And no matter what we say to them they are influenced by others. The common response I get when I say something positive to the teenager is, "you have to say that cause you are my mom".
One fact that I believe is that, 'corporate gain', is the philosophy behind all business decisions. Corporations will do what they think they need to do in order to sell their products. Facts will be spun to hopefully attain the desired results, making money! Money of course is at the forefront of everything but I still believe that there are some great messages out there from the government and from independent companies targeting the youth of our world. I am a big on removing advertising from my children's lives. One of the many reasons we don't have cable TV is because of the constant barrage of commercials. I see the difference in the little one after she has watched television with commercials. She is more whinny and in a constant mode of I want, I want and how come we can't have, it's not fair! I don't see this behaviour as strong when I restrict what she can watch.
Well, as I stated above, I have been on a bit of a soapbox and this is what put me there. I do understand that we all make our own personal decisions and have our own philosophies. However, we also all have our insecurities and I find it very distasteful when big business uses them to prey on the unsuspecting. I still believe that, as anything in life, education starts in the home first. We need to raise confident children. At work yesterday one of my co-workers was telling a story of how she came to wear glasses. I don't even know how the subject came up. She is a 57 year old woman and she is wonderful. She grew up in a very small town in Italy (my dad's home town). When she was about 7 years old she had trouble with her eye sight. The specialists told her parents that she was in desperate need of glasses or she would eventually lose her sight. Her parents refused to get her glasses because they did not want her to be teased by the other children. When she was about 16 years old they all moved to Canada. Once again they went to the specialist and by then one eye could not be repaired and the second could be saved if she started to wear glasses, so she did. Today she has one blurry eye even with her glasses on and one eye that was strengthened and damaged because of its overuse but she can still see, thanks to technology. Her parents made the decision of no glasses out of love for their daughter. I believe that their decision was also greatly influenced by their lack of education. They lived in a tiny town with no outside intervention and very little schooling (maybe up to grade 5 for the boys and grade nothing for the girls). The teasing must have been horrible. It is so sad to think that her parents thought that it was better to risk their daughter's sight rather than to have to let her live with glasses. But today we are so much luckier. We teach our children about kindness and respect and a love for our fellow man. Children's programs like, "Arthur", talk intelligently about having to wear glasses and getting head lice and having to deal with ripping your pants at school and so much more. It's up to us to help our children through the trials and tribulations of life. Change the parents and we will change the children. The media will catch up. I can guarantee that there was no TV in my dad's town but guess what, they did not need it to make this little girl feel like a freak, they had live actors for that.
About body image keep this in mind as you think about it. This past week the little one has been working on a club she has started at school called the "the sound of music club" it is a club where the kids can practise their recorders together. Sounds great (have you ever heard 5 grade 4 girls playing their recorders that they have had for only two weeks!) anyway, she said she started this club because another girl started a Fashion Club and told a third girl that she could not join the Fashion Club because she was too tall and fat! This is 9 year old girls and they are already judging each other based on outer appearance. When the little one and I talked about her club she said her club was open to everyone (thank goodness) and that she didn't understand why the girl was kicked out of the Fashion club because she is real nice. Before you go, oh, how sweet, the little one then said that the Fashion Club leader is fat and her skin is too dark! Of course I had to lecture about that! But unfortunately, regardless of what is seen on TV or what is felt and expressed at home our children are people and will think and feel what they want regardless of how we feel. Our responsibility is to try to influence positive thinking as best as we can, but it is not as easy as it sounds.
What to do about it? Just try and be as informed as you can when making choices!