What is your most purchased item? Is it skincare, clothing, jewelry, an accessory? Think about what made you buy this item and how it was an essential investment. Moreover, where did you see it being advertised? What was the overall aesthetic of the promotion?
“A Marketer’s Dream”
I’ve indulged in skincare and clothes over the past two years. I was what some can refer to as “a marketers dream.” Any cleanser or mini skirt I saw, I’d immediately rush to Amazon to find it. It didn’t take long for me to buy the product and ditch it once I saw the next best thing.
After some reflection, I realized I was buying the image that had been advertised. All of the things associated with these products had an appealing aesthetic. More significantly, I saw a perception that I wanted to imitate.
The Aspiration to Assimilate
That revelation prompted me to wonder in what other ways I practiced this behavior, and if anyone else could relate. It was that thought that made me recall my childhood and the images around me.
At a young age, I struggled with body image. I reduced this struggle to going through puberty. I assumed it was a “normal part of growing up.” I found that although these struggles were consistent with a plethora of over individuals, it is NOT normal, just normalized. Wanting to imitate a certain look isn’t a desire I developed two years ago, it is a behavior that has been produced since I could see.
The downfall of perception is the aspiration to assimilate. When I was eight, I wanted to be a fashion designer like True Jackson VP (one of my favorite shows), and that was inspiring. But when I was nine, I wanted the thigh gap of Tori Vega, and that was discouraging.
Body Image is a Product
From that point on, I could not help but notice the shape of my body compared to others. As I looked around me, there were always weight loss program commercials on TV, and my mom’s magazines only had one body type across the pages. The main characters on TV shows, my dolls, and the celebrity promotion of eating disorders and “perfection” created a depiction of what beauty was in my mind.
What I didn’t know is that this is intentional. If I felt like I had to be a certain size to be palatable, I’d also have to buy the new weight loss drink, a waist trainer, or an appetite suppressant. All of this just to appeal to the beauty standard. The business of body image allows marketers and advertisers to decide what beauty is. That way, they can sell young women on any trend or any product that promises flawlessness.
Since then, I have changed the language of how I buy. Instead of asking myself, where can I purchase this item? Or do I measure up to the image advertised? I ask myself why am I seeing this advertisement?
What am I being sold on? Is this essential to my happiness? I encourage all young women to question or challenge the images we see. It is more important to consume reality than perfect little images.
Check out more body image articles by GirlSpring contributors!