Friday, March 22, 2013

Is media and advertising really THAT evil?

Read an article from a 100% independent and 100% KL magazine.

Madam writer of a certain piece felt that it was media (women's magazines to be specific) and advertising (us to be specific) that have been encouraging extreme dieting and waif-like figures to even those women who don't need it, "Fashionable advertising plays the same role, only a lot meaner.  Androgynous models gaze smugly at you from beneath their fringes as you anxiously finger your own haircut, look down at your fat skinny-jean clad claves and question whether there is such a thing as the 'hipster gene' which you don't possess and never will".

When I was still in ad school, I remember this subject which remains an ever debatable topic till today: Do media shape society or the other way round?  It's much like the chicken and egg story.  There's really no one side to it.  My best shot at the answer was: Media and society affect one another indefinitely; sitting on opposite ends of the same continuum tied together by an invisible rod, there is little question that when one is spun upwards, the other follows.  Likewise, when one spiral downwards, the other can not not follow.  Can't explain it like Einstein, but that's the basic law.

So you see.  The point that I'm getting from Madam writer, is that her female peers have this 'desire' which she felt was instilled by 'media', 'to shrink their bodies - to lose a few points, to drop a dress size, to fit into that long-forgotten pair of jeans hanging in the back of (their) wardrobe.  Even the women (she knows) who are into exercising will talk about it as a hobby... and express their fervent hope that they will lose weight doing it.  This obsession with weight loss is downright gloomy, especially since (she is) under the impression that these women are all of normal weight to begin with'.  When society loses positivity, confidence and acceptance of itself, it sees all things bleak.  Blame creeps in.  It's media's fault, advertiser's fault, capitalism's fault, well, everyone's fault.  It's a fault party, hooray!  To be honest, a lot of companies haven't been the most scrupulous ones, but to put the entire blame on something else because she isn't satisfied of herself - whether psychologically or physically, is really taking the 'wayyyy too easy' exit out.  If society, or to be specific - our children - have been brought up with the courage to accept themselves and others (peers who looked and behaved different), then no ads in this world could tell them that they are not enough.  Seriously, they are untouchable.  No ads.  None.  Zilch.

There's an underlying message here with all these blaming.  The root of the problem only occurs only when we wash our hands from a cause of event.  Upward or downward spiral, you have a choice to decide.  You have a choice to decide if you really absolutely need that cookie.  You have a choice to decide if you really absolutely need that bag.  You have a choice to decide f*ck this shit, you wanna be healthy and you're gonna run 10 miles each day (and build them muscles!!!).  You have a choice to decide, you wanna look like Adele and so who cares what the world thinks?  The choice has always been with you.  Not media.

There's a saying in Chinese; You'll never be able to force a cow to lower its head, if it isn't thirsty in the first place.  Which loosely translates to; Takes two hands to clap.  C'mon on.  Stop blaming and own some.  If that pair of jeans don't fit you anymore, get new ones and over it.

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