It can be dangerous to your self esteem to ingest too much media. You can’t trust the beauty industry to define your self worth, because they make base their profits upon making you feel insecure about yourself. Every marketing message drives this ideal image home – and then sells you a product they imply will help you achieve it.
It was during this phase when I went shopping at an ethnic grocery and encountered a product I had never heard of – skin lightening cream. I could not believe that anybody with dramatic, gorgeous dark skin would want to *lighten* it. Why??? (Still blows my mind a little, can you tell?)
But the reason the box caught my attention to start with, was that it was the exact opposite of the products I had always encountered in the neighborhood drugstore. Instead of the pale girl moving towards tan, it was the tan girl moving towards pale. It used the same girl, just reversed the order.
This discovery was a wake-up call that the beauty and cosmetics industry was really making you chase shadows. If you were too curvy, they would sell you liposuction. If you were too slender, they would sell you implants. Or butt-enlarging padded underwear.
If you were darker-complected, the advertisers moved the bar and played on the exact same emotion, but to the opposite end of needing skin lightening cream. “Nobody will pay attention to you unless your skin is lighter (/darker).”
I have since learned that we have many precedents in this arena.
(1) Tanning only became popular with Coco Chanel. Before that, it was considered high class to be pale.
(2) People used to blacken their teeth to show prosperity, but now it’s considered a sign of wealth to have whitened teeth.
(3) Many cultures at different points in time have favored a plumper body style, indicative of a level of affluence that could afford food. One example is this African tribe, who fattened up a bride as her excess adipose tissue determined her bride price.
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
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About the Author: Amy is a STOTT Pilates Certified Instructor who loves introducing plus size and beginner exercisers to the wonderful world of Pilates. Her favorite benefits of Pilates include a stronger core and back, improved posture and alignment, and increased joint stability. She teaches private Pilates classes for personal training at the Pilates Resort of Oklahoma City, located in the Village at 2713 Plymouth Lane, Oklahoma City, OK 73120. For more information, be sure to visit their website.