It’s not too often that a commercial brings me to tears, much less one sponsored by a manufacturer of processed ‘food.’ But sometimes the message itself is more important than the messenger, transcending its origins and standing firmly as Truth.
We have become more aware in recent years of how damaging advertising can be to a person’s emotional and psychological well-being. We know that models and celebrities are airbrushed and photoshopped beyond recognition, we know that the media and entertainment industry only show us one version of “beauty,” and we know that the diet industry, fuelled by insecurities which have been constructed by the media, is largely a sham. If diet pills worked, then more than half of Canadians would not still be obese.
But the negative body messages which so predominate our culture – messages which tells us that we need to be a certain size and a certain shape, have skin without lines, marks, or scars, and spend our dollars on miracle products to achieve this ideal – are still impressively effective. Having an awareness of the message being sold to us helps to obstruct its purpose, but when we are bombarded with the same information thousands of time per day, without our consent and often even without our conscious knowledge, it has a tendency to lodge deep within our psyches.
Now imagine how much more effective this strategy is on our youth. As we age we develop critical thinking skills which (hopefully) enable us to discern truth from lies, fact from propaganda. We become more comfortable in our skin and confident in our identity. But young girls are still learning these skills and still figuring out what their place is in the world, in their communities, and in their social groups. They are still trying to determine what makes them valuable and deserving of love. They are vulnerable.
And they are immensely valuable to marketers. If adults have a difficult time separating their self worth from their appearance, how much harder must this be on a young girl who is still establishing what that worth is, and from where she should derive it?
I know I’m sick of our culture of body shaming. I’m tired of lining up at the grocery store and being subjected to phrases like “Best and Worst Beach Bodies” (as if every body wasn’t a beach body), or “Drop 10 Pounds in Just One Week!” (as if that were even possible or desirable). But still they have become a commonplace. Until, perhaps, you watch the following two videos.
Hearing these same messages spoken from the mouths of young girls is immensely disturbing, and it should be. But sometimes all it takes a slight shift in perspective to make the truth of something more evident. Check it out:
The ad is part of a series and I do encourage you to watch them all before signing the petition. I have included one more below, which asks the girls in the above video to describe just how they are affected by this type of messaging… as their mothers watch. It’s pretty powerful.
Sign the petition now to help keep Dietainment away from young girls.
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