Struggling with body image and self esteem is an issue long transgressing our ‘generation’. If our parents and grandparents would rely on image to pioneer advertising, today everything is about image. Because everything is about advertising.
Just look at the buzz created around the Super Bowl ads! You rarely get an answer if you ask about the Denver Broncos’s quarterback (that would be Peyton Manning, if anyone’s wondering) or even about who’s facing who in the Super Bowl 50 (Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos)! Ask about who’s starring in Bud’s Super Bowl Ads and you’ll get tons of answers and details! Regardless of the occasion, ads rule the world. Consequently, image rules the world (you thought it was ‘girls’, huh? ^_^).
We’re not all born with a marketing gene so we might not realize half through our childhood that all interaction is transactional and that putting your cause in a better light, using a bit of makeup to soften the blows will definitely get you a long way, closer to what you’re after. So, like two yogurts may be identical and sitting on the same shelf next to each-other, if one is advertised in the media and the other isn’t, the advertised one will sell. The other won’t. Financial troubles ensue, businesses get closed and once optimistic entrepreneurs double their anti-depression medication.
Do you know: What fashion is to you?
And yet we keep asking ourselves how come our generation, our children, have image issues! Seriously? On what grounds you chose your kids schools? On what principles you buy your kids’ clothes? Image. Yes. A good looking school, with a nice schoolyard, lovely classes and nice teachers will win. A pretty clothing item will win over a dull one, regardless that its final purpose is to keep us warm and covered.
In today’s newsfeed, I came across 6 different titles yet all discussing the same ‘image’ thing. Various changes made by toy producers to align themselves to the current realities: Barbie got a curvier sister, a petite and a tall one, a Black and Asian one as well, Lego will start selling a wheelchair figurine starting June this year (part of a Lego City edition, the new wheelchair minifigure comes to ‘celebrate diversity’ as it was received by militants worldwide). Prior to this launch, preexisting instructions on how to build Lego wheelchairs were already available, but nothing compares to the real Lego image deal, right?
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An Instagram account with pictures of a Barbie with a Hijab ‘hijarbie’ is growing in popularity. Its modus operandi is simple: dressing Barbie to reflect the Muslim women reality, with coordinated Hijab, in diverse situations and places. Great idea, great imagery from the 24yo Nigerian Haneefah Adam!
Sure, sewing clothes and Hijabs for tiny Barbie isn’t that big of a deal, however, Haneefah also owns and runs a modest lifestyle brand for contemporary muslim women, called Hanie.
I now wonder if a petition is in order to enlarge Barbie’s Mattel family with a Hijab Barbie? Or maybe extremists would start a petition indicating that a Hijab wearing Barbie is deprecating the Muslim values… Anything is possible when people try to deal with image issues!
Some online shopping platform even designed matching Ken dolls for the new Barbie sisters, based on data about real men shopping preferences! Some Kens are plain creepy, some are funny, I’m actually thankful they’re not real! And I hope some of them will only remain in a bits and bytes shape.
How about those high school kids who cross-dressed to protest the Clovis Unified School District Council decision to not make changes to their dress code dating from 1975 that doesn’t allow boys to wear earrings or have long hair. Isn’t that strange how our children take image in their own hands and show adults how twisted all image things can be? Who’s to say long hair and earrings are bad for boys and dresses aren’t? Now the CUSD is facing much worse image issues than long hair and earrings, huh?
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Seriously, how are we handling this image issue? By changing the image, the very fabric of the matter? Or by getting to the core of things? Our entire society is based on image. On advertising. Changing a Barbie’s silhouette is supposed to make our children feel better about themselves not being stick thin like a plastic doll? Our educational system is based on uniformity. We’re sending our kids to school where they wear uniforms, where they’re being taught in groups of tens the same things our grandparents were taught. The same way too.
Isn’t that a bit ironic? And we’re teaching our kids to negotiate. Because it’s better than to impose. Right? And who wins a negotiation? The better seller. Who sells better? Who casts the better light. Who advertises better.
Changing toys will not change who we’ve become. Heck! Changing clothes 4, 6 seasons a year won’t change who we’ve become! It will just burry us deeper under thick layers of images. Images after images, trends after trends, ads after ads…
Think about it. And we’ll talk, see what we can actually do about all this ‘faux’ diversity approach.
Yes! There is something to do! Something that would actually make a difference. And not just an image difference! Acceptance. True acceptance. True belief that all just is. Beyond recognition, beyond image. Just IS. Step back and ask yourself: are you or do you need image recognition to be?