Let me start this post by saying that I’m a Marketing Manager. I actually love my job and thoroughly enjoy trying to figure out the best ways to promote the products and services that I work with to the right target market of people that will want to buy them. However, at the risk of making a sweeping comparison… I’m going to do it anyway.
In the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, cigarette advertising was extremely prominent. It proved to work, and hooked thousands – no millions – of Americans on them. Years later, we would learn about their dangerous affects and how awful they were to our health. To this day, states are still enacting rules to ban them as they continue to take thousands – no millions – of lives. My grandma and grandpa passed away because of them.
I will stretch a bit and venture to say that the next big challenge to our health is the “look” of being skinnier that we have been sold to for years now by marketers. It’s the sunliminal belief that has been pounded into our minds for years that to be successful, one must be skinny. To be sexy, beautiful, seen as smart, important, high profile… anythjng… one must be skinny. When was the last time someone ‘normal’ has been featured in an ad. Someone whose thighs touched when they walk? How about a girl who has hips? Cuz fuck, we all have hips! I’m not asking for ads with women who are pounds overweight, but one who is normal. One with 20%-ish of body fat and is portrayed as strong, and beautiful. Isn’t that what everyone wants to see anyway?
I feel like eating disorders are on the rise. The amount of girls who feel low self-esteem, feel inadequate, and don’t practice self-love continues to drop every year. And while I won’t blame it all on marketing and the media, (some can be blamed on the social media, constantly online culture – but that’s a topic for another time), it’s not helping. I hope that someday we can teach girls to love themselves without needing new clothes, or to be Uber skinny – their flaws, imperfections and all. Is all of this wishing and believing for a better life and a better image leading to increased depression? Maybe we just need to have a more open discussion about mental health. Maybe the US should be just as open and understanding about mental health as they have been in the last year or two with gay marriage. When someone breaks their leg, we can see it, and are able to watch it heal… but why, when someone’s mind is broken, do we not talk about it? We allow them to continue going about life, like nothing is wrong. Can you imagine walking around with a bone sticking out of your leg and pretending everything is fine for years? WTF?! Let’s make it talk to talk about these things so that those that need help can get it and so that everyone can talk about how fucker up it is to have a sticks and bones model promote how amazing cigarettes are for you.