Friday, July 12, 2013

Consumerism and Faith (Bold Cafe)

This is a faith reflection I wrote that was published in this month's issue of Bold Cafe- an online magazine for young adult women (or anyone who reads it). It is a ministry of the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

 A recent advertisement from a cosmetics company went viral on television and on the Internet. In the commercial, women described themselves to a forensic artist who could not see them. He made a second sketch based on a description from a stranger who encountered the woman in the waiting room. The drawings from the women’s own characterizations of themselves were often more grim and less attractive. Many did not actually resemble the person depicted.

This was not the fault of the artist, though, because the second drawings, made from a stranger’s description, were easily matched with their real-life counterparts. Each woman’s face, as described by a stranger, was more open and far more realistic to her appearance and demeanor. Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign garnered lots of positive attention for encouraging women (and men) to see themselves as others do–with kindness and openness.
Regardless of the overt emotional impact of the campaign, this cosmetics company and its parent company, Unilever, want to sell products. Unilever also makes Axe body spray. Axe commercials frequently objectify women in the way the Dove commercials attempt to alleviate. Unilever also manufactures a skin lightener called “Fair and Lovely” specifically to Middle Eastern and Indian consumers. Suggesting that lighter skin is more beautiful skin is not exactly a “real beauty” message, even though it comes from the same company... (continued after the jump to the Cafe website)

No comments: