“Advertising for many commercial goods functions by cultivating our body insecurity or hatred in order to sell products. If we all believed we were attractive as we are, for example, we would have little need for most commercial beauty products. Women in particular are taught that their self-worth is determined by how well they match the cultural standard of beauty. Most of us therefore feel inadequate and that we can never measure up. And it seems as if advertisers have recently realized that they were so busy exploiting women’s insecurities, they’d forgotten half the population. So now they’re doing their best to make men feel equally horrible about themselves. Buying into these images doesn’t benefit anyone but the advertisers”.
– Linda Bacon & Lucy Aphramor, “Body Respect”.
A few years ago, when I was facilitating a workshop on emotion-driven overeating, I was talking about not buying into “the cultural standard of beauty” that Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor describe. One of the participants became quite angry and said something like “it’s all very well to say that but this is how the world works”.