Monday, February 8, 2010
When I was a young girl, I was obsessed with fashion. I wanted to be a fashion designer when I grew up, and I spent hours poring through Seventeen, Glamour, and Vogue. I had entire walls in my bedroom plastered with pages from these magazines and, like many girls my age, I used these publications as my reference point for how to style my hair, do my makeup, and as my lens into the larger world.
I heard an interesting statistic recently in the documentary “America the Beautiful.” They said that 70% of women and girls feel bad about themselves after just 3 minutes of looking through fashion magazines. I believe it. The magazine pages on my walls as a girl were soon joined by poster-sized pages of meticulously transcribed calorie charts.
A month or two ago I purchased mascara online and was offered a 6-month subscription to Lucky magazine as a “free gift”. Because it's next to impossible for me to say no to something called a free gift, I accepted. It's a useless magazine, dedicated to retail therapy, with no pretense of intellectual content. I could live with that. But when I flipped through the pages of the March issue and saw the above ad, I was appalled. It's hard to render me speechless, but that's just about where I am with this. It's so far off the charts that I don't know what to say. I could boycott Diesel, but I don't wear Diesel. I'm not their target market. And that's the problem, because they would never dare try that crap on adult women. They know we'd be up in arms.
But girls are vulnerable. They're being told in way too many places that being stupid (say, for example, taking digital photos of your crotch, presumably to post online, while being pursued by a lion) is ok. Better than ok, that it's what makes them fun. Obviously capitalizing on the insecurities of young women isn't new, but this is definitely a low point. I understand that these companies are in business to make money, but I don't believe it has to be done this way. In fact, I think it's their responsibility not to do it this way.
Needless to say, I'll be canceling my free gift.