Are you a Victim of Marketing, Image and the Great Media Lie?

by Kelly on February 16, 2009 · 29 comments

in Life. People. News

image-obsessed-postDo you know who this woman is?

I don’t. But apparently she’s ‘famous’ and her name is Kim Kardashian.

Wikipedia says she is a celebutante (huh?), socialite, model, actress and television personality who has a sex tape in circulation. Sounds like she’s making a real contribution to society, doesn’t she?

You may be wondering why I am picking on this defenceless media poser, and really I don’t mean to. I know nothing about this woman, so it’s quite possible she’s a lovely human being who just happens to to like having her photo taken and getting her kit off for amateur film makers.

What I do have a problem with is the notion that people like this and the Paris Hiltons of the world are held up in the media spotlight like they are important or more interesting than you and I, when in truth they have no discernable talent or achievements to speak of.

Is it just me, or has the developed world become a very shallow place where marketing is sold as news and we believe all that glitters is indeed gold?

In fact, unless it’s shiny and glittering we don’t want to know about it. Fame, wealth, perky breasts, unlined faces, and designer labels modeled by your favorite celebrity - apparently this is what matters.

The following articles I read recently left me feeling more than a bit depressed.

Women and Body Image: Ten Disturbing Facts - illustrates the widening gap between media images of women and the actual living, breathing kind.

A Community for Good Looking People - Vered at Momgrind takes aim at a ridiculous new website where you can upload your photo and have your appearance graded by perfect strangers. If you’re lucky you might be ticked as “stunning”, or your self esteem might take a beating if some idiot decides you’re actually “horrifying”.

Celebrity New Mothers Put Your Clothes back on Dammit! - Australian journalist, Mia Freedman vents her frustration at the media’s preoccupation with celebrity mothers and their post baby bodies. The unfortunate truth is if you’re reading a general news article about motherhood, there’s a good chance it’s the typical celebrity photo spread where an actress is paid an obscene amount of money to flash some skin and let us common folk in on the secret to how she shed that dreaded baby weight. Because everyone knows this is what new mothers should be thinking about in those first few months of their baby’s life.

N.Y Post Cartoon Picks on Jessica Simpson’s Weight - Ridiculing a woman’s body isn’t satire or funny. Shame on them.

What kind of fucked up world do we live in when learning how to be a mother comes second to having toned abs?

You can dismiss this as filler for mindless women’s magazines, but at what point does the filler become so prevalent that it actually distorts people’s perceptions of what’s important and newsworthy?

The Jessica Simpson ’story’ came to my attention via news headlines. Yes, hard to believe, but media reaction to a young woman’s body shape was deemed general news. So much so that even the President of the United States was supposed to have an opinion on this breaking cover story. Are you kidding me?

image-in-adv

We have become so sold on the notion that image and success are everything that we’ll buy overpriced undies just because David Beckham advertises them, it’s okay for magazines to deliver us photoshopped cartoon like images sold as real beauty, and teenage models who have barely finished developing are used to showcase clothes that only adult women can actually afford.

Image, fame and material success have become everything, while substance, virtue and courage are too often relegated to the back of the news stories.

The world watched Britney Spears’ meltdown with bated breath and salivates over self indulgent, drugged out actors like Lindsay Lohan, while around the world people die from starvation and genocide and you’ll be lucky if it makes page 12 of the paper.

I think all this media focus on the trivial is part of a much greater societal change.  Real problems, real people, hell, even spending REAL MONEY that you earned, none of it is “cool” anymore.

We’re all being sold on a fantasy:

You can look like Heidi Klum if you just diet and exercise enough
You can look young forever
You have the right to endless credit
You need a bigger house and a better car than your neighbours

It’s all crap. Society is caught up in an hypnotic pull of so many lies it can’t see straight, and slowly but surely it’s destroying us.

Sorry if I sound negative, but I am feeling very disillusioned with where the world is heading these days. I think something has to change and fast. It’s like we have too much money and no sense.

Maybe this is the harsh lesson we have to learn from the global financial meltdown.

Forget about the BMW, the McMansion, the plastic surgery, the $200 miracle face creams and get back to basics.

Look inside yourself and see who you really are and forget about comparing yourself to others.

If you’re lucky the answer will be an average sized, healthy adult with a few cuddly bits and a lot of smile lines; plus a job, a loving family, a roof over your head and friends to share a meal with. If you’re really blessed, you might even have a satisfying career, an annual holiday and hobbies which make your weekends fly by.

If you have all these things, then my grandmother’s generation would have thought you were rich and most definitely successful. It’s a shame somewhere along the line that message got lost.

What do you think? Should I just settle back down and take a CHILL PILL, or is society really losing the plot?

Kelly

Flickr Photo1 by BiggerPictureImages.com and

Flickr Photo2 by kampol likitkanjanakul, pop. FASHION

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Vered - MomGrind 02.16.09 at 3:24 pm

Kelly, wow, what a powerful post. No, you do not need a chill pill. It’s great that you tell it like it is. The “Jessica Simpson is FAT” story was absolutely ridiculous and the way the media treats new motherhood scares me. I agree with every single word and could never have written it as well as you have. Thank you very much for the links.

I’m so glad you decided to write this.

2 Davina 02.16.09 at 5:14 pm

I was out today and found myself watching people. I couldn’t help but notice the “content” look on their faces as they walked by in their designer outfits, carrying shopping bags with trendy shop names printed on them and looking eagerly in shop windows at what they could buy next. The bags were full, but there seemed to be an emptiness about the person carrying those bags. Robotic-like.

They looked like they had walked right out of a fashion magazine. I actually found myself starting to feel sorry for them. What bothers me is that I have to work at not judging them on that appearance alone. I don’t know them at all and perhaps a lot of them are very nice people who just happen to be successful.

Davina’s last blog post..Ebook Launch: The Quote Effect Arrives

3 Evelyn Lim 02.16.09 at 5:58 pm

I don’t know who Kim Kardashian is. It’s the first time I’ve seen her picture and read any write-up about this lady. You are right. For all we know, she may be a wonderful person. Only that the news media does not report it!

What peeves me most are local ads on breast enhancements. We see them everyday in the papers. What is sad is that most of the celebrities featured in these ads are actually mothers to young babies or kids. Do they not stop to think what kind of messages they are sending out?

Love your post!! As Vered said, you’ve made some very powerful points. We need more women to think that it’s okay not to look plastic!

Evelyn Lim’s last blog post..What The Movie Benjamin Button Taught Me About Time

4 Frisky Librarian 02.16.09 at 10:08 pm

*applauds enthusiastically* I also have moments where I feel very disillusioned with our society and worried about where it’s heading.

There’s a lot to be said for avoiding mainstream media - especially women’s magazines. I try to do just that as much as I can and focus on the simple stuff that really matters instead.

Frisky Librarian’s last blog post..Sunday scenes

5 BC Doan 02.17.09 at 1:15 am

Kelly,
I just love this post! It’s raw, honest, and speaking for many of us who think the media making a mountain out of a tiny mold.
Don’t ever think about taking chill pills. Powerful and fearless post like this, speak in greater volume Kelly!

BC Doan’s last blog post..Are Your Back-Links Keep Readers Away

6 Cath Lawson 02.17.09 at 1:33 am

Hi Kelly - What scares me is that we can see it all for what it is - but what about our kids? My 11 year old has some strange idea that she needs her arms waxed - not underneath her arms but her actually arms. Probably it’s because she’s seeing too many pics of these airbrushed airheads & she thinks she’s actually meant to look that.

7 Charlotte (Life's a Charm) 02.17.09 at 1:51 am

this is such a great read!

Charlotte (Life’s a Charm)’s last blog post..Valentine Greetings

8 Charlotte (Life's a Charm!) 02.17.09 at 1:55 am

this is such a great post! it is so unfortunate how irrelevant and crappy issues are more widely circulated than the serious and educational issues, that these irrelevant issues become overwhelming and overpowering.

9 Lori 02.17.09 at 3:02 am

Well said!

It will require people and bloggers like you, Vered, and others exposing the fawning obsessions and adoration of glamour, glitz, and the search for 15-seconds of fame for what they are — shallow, meaningless, and useless.

I don’t think you can “get back to basics.” Going back is viewed as worse. You have to make sensibility desirable and fashionable.

Glenn Beck is trying to get people to embrace these 12 Values of the Founding Fathers of America: (I don’t know how many founding father were really this way, but hey, ya gotta start somewhere.)

* Honesty
* Reverence
* Hope
* Thrift
* Humility
* Charity
* Sincerity
* Moderation
* Hard Work
* Courage
* Personal Responsibility
* Friendship

The revolution begins!

10 Shelley 02.17.09 at 5:33 am

HI Kelly
I enjoyed this post. Most passionate and SHE-POWER of you! Yes. I do agree. And at the same time, perhaps it’s the people with most of the money to buy designer ‘guff’ who are most unhappiest. Keeping up ridiculous appearances and all… it must be a shitter to live in Hollywood and develop these warped notions that a nose, boob and knee tuck is acceptable, normal, even desirable. Oh how time is wittled away on activities without real meaning! Then again, anyone (rich or poor) can usually get a credit card and try to emulate the media generated ideal wo/man out there. I don’t understand though, why SO MANY PEOPLE buy into it. Do you think money is the modern spirituality? Nothing bought buys deep love, acceptance, gratitude or happiness. Well. It hasn’t been my experience!

I personally don’t read many gossip magazines. I might pick one up and leaf through while I’m in the check out cue, blowing off time. Those mags generally make me feel I’ve consumed far too much trash (like junk food) than my palate can comfortably handle. I’m generally okay or better about myself before I over-indulged on all that juicy media crap!
So Kelly, thank you for this fab blog. The next time Amy Winehouse features on TVNZ, even if it’s just for 20 seconds as she often does here, I will prompty write to the news station (as I keep meaning to) and remind them, most kiwis want more substance from an evening news report. Three facts about native American toads would give the news more factual substance than her latest drunken antics.

11 Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome 02.17.09 at 6:53 am

Didn’t you know that the biggest threat to humanity was aging and gaining weight? And how to figure out how to make the results of Photoshopping a photo translate onto the person him/herself?

Dove soap in North America did a great campaign and my favourite is the one where they take a totally “normal” woman and turn her into a supermodel with hair, makeup and lots of Photoshopping (Or as they say her in Spain: Photochop): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

I also read somewhere that men are turned off by the airbrushing that’s done in magazines - so if women don’t like it because it creates and impossible image and men don’t find it sexy - why do we do it?

12 Marelisa 02.17.09 at 7:14 am

Hi Kelly: I do know who Kim Kardashian is (her father was one of the lawyers on OJ Simpson’s “dream team” during his murder case; he passed away a few years ago). She’s famous because of her sex tape and because she’s beautiful and makes a lot of money from making calendars, public appearances, posing for Playboy, she has a reality show, and so on. I think the amount of media attention that people like Kim, Lindsey Lohan, and Paris Hilton get is ridiculous.

There are so many more important things to think about than weight and drunken celebrities. Then again, I watched Bill Gates’ talk at Ted.com and apparently there are more medications on the market for men going bald than there are for children dying of malaria in third world countries. We definitely need a reality check.

13 Kelly 02.17.09 at 8:53 pm

@Vered
Thanks for the support Vered, I knew you’d appreciate this post. As for the whole media preoccupation with women’s bodies post motherhood, it is a real pet peeve of mine. I just find it totally screwed up.

@Davina
I think how content these people would be depends on whether they can afford what they are buying and if they are shopping for enjoyment or for purchases to define themselves. Having money for the things you want is great, I think the problem comes when the things you own end up owning you.

@Evelyn
As you say, the media doesn’t care who Kim whats-her-face is, only what she looks like and what salacious things she might say and do. I must say I don’t notice ads for breast enhancements that much, but I do remember leafing through one of my brother’s Playboy magazines 10 years ago and thinking there weren’t a real pair of breasts in the whole magazine. I think things have only got worse now.

Kelly

14 Kelly 02.17.09 at 9:08 pm

@Frisky Librarian
I almost never buy magazines, but like most women I leaf through them at the supermarket check out. What really disturbs me though is gossip has merged into news and it is blurring the lines between relevant information and trivial self indulgence.

@B.C Doan
Thank you. Glad you liked it. :)

@Cath Lawson
Your poor daughter - that’s horrifying. I never even thought about the hair on my arms when I was 11 (or now!). I didn’t even shave my legs then. The fact that she is already this self conscious about her body is proof enough of what I am saying. Photoshopping and an overt preoccupation with all that is fake and flashy IS harming society and our children.

Kelly

15 Kelly 02.17.09 at 9:21 pm

@Charlotte
“overwhelming and overpowering” - that’s it exactly. We are overwhelmed and overpowered by these messages.

@Lori
Those values look pretty good. Count me in on the revolution!

@Shelley
“Three facts about native American toads would give the news more factual substance than” Amy Winehouse’s latest drunken antics. So true and quite a funny image as well. I actually think Amy Winehouse is immensely talented but also undeniably messed up. But that doesn’t change the fact that people like her aren’t news. I can see drunks and druggos at any inner city bar, and if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

Kelly

16 Kelly 02.17.09 at 9:32 pm

@Alex Fayle
I did a post on retouching that featured the Dove video; it’s great! And I’ve never heard that about men not finding air brushed images sexy, but it wouldn’t surprise me because I’ve never found men expect chiseled perfection in women. I think it’s often women who are the harshest judges of other women.

@Marelisa
I should have twittered you for the heads up on Kim Kardashian - as usual you’re a wealth of information. And I’ve read that fact before about there being more medications for preventing baldness than malaria. It’s beyond sad, it’s an outrage.

Kelly

17 Mehreen 02.17.09 at 11:15 pm

excellent post!!! :) keep it up!
thumbs up on stumbleupon =)

18 Renee - Simple Kinda Life 02.18.09 at 12:14 am

“Look inside yourself and see who you really are and forget about comparing yourself to others.” — Perfect!

You should see the girls where I live. They are all the same, and you can literally point out which “celebrity” they are trying to copy. “That one, Paris Hilton; that brunette some Laguna Beach wannabe; that one, Lindsay Lohan.” Media influences most women in a very disturbing way.

It really is quite sad. I’ll admit though - I have looked at some girls like that and thought; Wow, they must have a great life. But then you have a conversation with them and you kinda feel sorry for them. Their superficiality just shows how insecure they are, and it’s an ongoing cycle of unhappiness and filling a void. I’d take being true to myself to keeping up an ‘appearance’ any day!

Either way, great post. I really enjoyed it.

19 Urban Panther 02.18.09 at 12:30 am

And yet, I wrote about taking charge of our health AND protecting the environment by using a menstrual cup instead of tampons, and I was greeted with EW YUCK, and GROSS by my fellow females. So, we don’t even accept our own bodies and our own natural functionings. We are our own worst enemies it seems. (see today’s post for a further rant on this topic).

20 Kelly 02.18.09 at 8:07 pm

@Mehreen
Thank you :)

@Renee
Welcome to SHE-POWER! It is sad when girls feel that they must emulate a celebrity because none of us can really embrace and see our own beauty and uniqueness if we try to be someone else. Glad you liked the post, and I hope to see you back here again. :)

@Urban Panther
Babe, good to hear from you. Will come check out latest post. And I agree it is frustrating that men almost celebrate their bodily functions, while women too often criticize and turn away from acknowledging their insides as much as they do their outsides.

Kelly

21 Dot 02.19.09 at 4:09 am

Take a bow, Kelly, because that was great! Sadly, thirty years ago women also wrote about such things, and while it reached a lot of us, the younger generation tends to reject what their parents value, at least for a while.

What I feel about people like Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, and especially Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears, is that they’ve been cheated out of having caring, involved parents who would step in long before their current state of disgrace and set them back on the right track. Alicia Silverstone, too. It’s so sad to see young women wasting their lives like that.

Dot’s last blog post..OpenOffice Extensions

22 Robin 02.19.09 at 2:18 pm

To be honest Kelly, I don’t find the things you describe upsetting because they simply are not part of my life. I don’t read women’s magazines, or watch TV, or anything like that, and I don’t have conversations about any of these people - I don’t know who they are! - I do know who Britney is! It’s all awful, of course, but to me it’s like MacDonalds - the masses like it but I don’t go there.

Robin’s last blog post..Finding Our True Selves

23 Kelly 02.19.09 at 10:02 pm

@Dot
“the younger generation tends to reject what their parents value, at least for a while.” This is definitely true Dot, and in the case of young women I hope they do one day look to their mothers and older, real women as an example rather than air headed, two dimensional mag hags.

@Robin
I see what you’re saying, and while I could sit back and say “well I don’t buy into this stuff”, I think the problem is bigger than just me. What the media is saying and “the masses” are doing has relevance if it denigrates society and the minds of our youth and impressionable young people. Even grown women are vulnerable to the wrong message if it’s regurgitated enough. I think we have a responsibility to speak up about a direction that takes us all down a slippery slope.

It might be easier for people who don’t feel a need to fit in or aspire to meet other’s expectations, but “the masses” deserve better than these lies as well. My younger sister and all the little girls who are my son’s friends - they deserve better than to grow up in a world which tells them that they must conform to some unrealistic physicality to be good enough. Or they are incomplete until they find themselves a man. Or unless everyone is looking at you, you just don’t exist.

What gets to me Robin is that even though I do avoid reading women’s magazines, all I have to do is watch the news headlines and listen to most women in my age group and lifestyle stage (young kids/new mums) to know that everyday people, intelligent people, are affected by these messages. They’re judging themselves harshly and feeling like failures because they can’t live up to some created, unrealistic image of what a woman should be. It’s wrong and I believe it needs to be said.

Cheers
Kelly

24 Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach 02.23.09 at 11:05 pm

Excellent post! I was recently chatting with another karate mom and commented, you never see on TV shows like:

American Mathematician

or

American Entrepreneur

Nope, it’s always

American Shallowness

that rules the day. Very depressing indeed.

Data points, Barbara

Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach’s last blog post..RANT - When bloggers are PAINFULLY clueless

25 Weight Loss Success 03.03.09 at 7:32 am

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Cool blog, I just stumbled on it and I’m already a dedicated reader
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If I can lose that much weight then any one can. Whatever you do, never give up and you WILL
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Latest blog post: do registered dieticians make

26 KRISHNA PAUL 09.09.09 at 1:26 am

WHEN WE AS INDIVIDUALS LOSE THE VALUE OF THE INNER PERSON THEN WE RELY ON THE INSECURE WORLD OF THE EXTERNAL WORLD WHICH IS SUPERFICIAL,UNRELIABLE AND SUPPORTED BY LIES,FEAR AND THE DARKNESS OF BELIEVING THAT IT IS ACTUALLY CORRECT AND PASSES FOR REALITY.
THIS IS THE CONSUMMER BASED WORLD WHICH WE WERE ALL BORN INTO AND IT IS OUR BIRTH RIGHT AND OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DEVELOPE OUR INNER QUALITIES AND SUPPORT THE WORLD WIDE MOVEMENT OF LOVE,LIGHT AND TRUTH AND RISE ABOVE THIS INHERENT EVIL AND DEGRADATION OF THE HUMAN SOUL AND BEING.
I SUPPORT SELF EMPOWERMENT FOR ALL HUMAN BEINGS ALIKE ,BOTH FE - MALE AND MALE AND FOR THAT MATTER THE ELEMENTAL COMMUNITIES AS WELL WHOM HAVE BEEN SYSTEMATICALLY RAPED AND PILLAGED FOR GENERATIONS.
THIS MUST STOP!!!
KRISHNA PAUL´s last blog ..Streaming through Life …….. My ComLuv Profile

27 ODONGOH 08.03.11 at 8:06 pm

WOW! So there are still serious women around!
Your courage is unprecedented. I will ASK- do not stop!
Keep doing this for humanity’s sake.
You will definitely help a few men out here.

28 agen bola 05.31.13 at 9:26 pm

Wow, wonderful weblog format! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall glance of your site is fantastic, let alone the content material!
agen bola´s last 1 ..1 My ComLuv Profile

29 funny videos clips 08.18.14 at 4:44 pm

that’s a so pretty girl, best of luck pretty girl

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