Truth in Advertising? I Think Not!
I want to talk about the cosmetic industry and advertising. I want to start a movement for truth in advertising that says you must display the ‘after’ picture honestly.
Why? Because I don’t want any more young girls aspiring to the unattainable. Starving themselves to look like someone in a magazine who has been so enhanced by Photoshop their own family wouldn’t recognize them.
When I was a talent agent I would receive headshots on a regular basis from people requesting an interview for representation. It’s fair to say they quite often looked different in person but you would still recognize them.
We all put our best face forward for a professional photograph, don’t we? Why pay a photographer if you aren’t looking for professional results? This is true even for family photos.
A friend of mine told me once I was the only person she knew who could change so much with just a little bit of make-up. I knew she was correct. I’ve seen me in the morning…I know! So, it’s not unreasonable for anyone to go the extra mile for a photograph.
It is beyond reason, however, for a photographer to take someone’s photograph and erase every line, pore, and deemed imperfection to sell a product that will never be able to do the same.
I applaud the UK for banning ads for Maybelline and Lancôme because, and I quote:
“On the basis of the evidence we had received we could not conclude that the ad image accurately illustrated what effect the product could achieve, and that the image had not been exaggerated by digital post production techniques.”
Who was in those ads, you ask? Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts respectively. Those hideous women everyone shields their eyes from!
This is from an article in People magazine from 1993:
“When New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art needed the ideal features to grace the 120 mannequins in its revamped Costume Institute, it was Christy Turlington’s face that they chose to cast in fiberglass. “We wanted beauty that transcends time, like the faces on ancient Egyptian carvings,” explains associate curator Harold Koda. “Christy’s face is the most elegant I’ve seen, all in perfect balance.”
So you can see why her Maybelline ads need to be ‘touched up’, can’t you?
Below the neck a photographer or graphic artist can provide you with the fastest, easiest, diet you’ve ever experienced. Even Oprah has admitted to Photoshop manipulation to make her look thinner. She of all people should know better.
I don’t subscribe to Vogue any more but I sometimes pick it up at the newsstand. Hey, I’m not dead yet. I still care about style and what’s hot, current, etc. I also like to laugh at some of the totally crazy extremes they go to for ‘art’. Some things aren’t laughable, however.
Last April there was an article in Vogue by a woman who put her seven year old daughter on a strict diet. You can’t find the actual piece on Vogue’s website. Apparently they had second thoughts after it hit the stands. It was, however written about in Time and a few other places.
“Bea’s mom, Dara-Lynn Weiss, writes about publicly shaming her 7-year-old daughter in her quest for a slimmer, trimmer girl after the pediatrician advised her that Bea was clinically obese at 4 ft. 4 in. and 93 pounds.”
Of course the mother was only passing onto her daughter her own self-hatred. It’s a horrible legacy and too many mothers are doing the same thing in their own way.
My mother forced me to wear padded bras because…”You’re so flat chested you’ll never get a man!” She never thought I wore enough make-up either.
Believe me, I had issues with my body and I still do. I’ve just gotten much better at loving myself for who I am rather than what I look like. I can’t even tell you how many years of self-loathing it took to reach a comfort zone.
Now when I see these ads or read about another mother shoving a distorted view of the ‘ideal woman’ down a little girl’s throat I want to scream… STOP THE MADNESS!
Well, maybe it is up to us. We could boycott the companies that use these tactics to sell products that will never deliver their claims. (That would be all of them.) At the very least they should have to put a disclaimer in BOLD in the advertisement.
Unfortunately you have to hit them in the wallet to make your point. That bothers me because I use many of these products. I like them even though they will never make me flawless.
Perhaps a better idea is to enforce the laws already in place. That might mean more regulation, and I know that’s never popular, but do we really want to perpetuate this unrealistic vanity that has damaged too many generations already?
So there’s the conundrum. What do you suggest? I’m open to ideas.