Diversity in Marketing

Have you noticed that a lot of companies are claiming to be trying to broaden the definition of beauty lately by using girls about 2 sizes bigger than their normal girls? Have you seen all the debates about what does and does not accomplish this fact? I agree with most of what’s being said. Showing a beautiful size 6 girl and calling her “real” because she’s not a size 2 is a big load of hypocrisy. But you know what else? I know what I’m saying might be controversial here, but…

It’s not their job to promote beauty ideals. Should it be? Maybe. But my response to all of this hoopla is simply that while a size 10 woman with a B-cup and tattoos might be a mighty fine woman, it doesn’t sell products. In case anyone missed this part, companies of all kinds exist to make money. That’s it. Whether or not you agree with what is and is not beautiful about the women in their ads, the fact is that a majority of people would rather aspire to look like these “not-real” (barf) women, and therefore aspire to buy the product and spend their money. That’s the job of a business. Sell shit. Not make you feel better about yourself. Because if you feel better about yourself you don’t need them. No money is made, they have no jobs, and then they can feel bad about themselves while making for a pretty shit economy.

Now you could of course argue that it’s better marketing to be able to see yourself in the product. You should be able to relate to this model in some way in order to see it as being the right product for you. This is true, but only to an extent. Why? Because you will never look anything like 99.99% of the models you see. You’ll maybe find one or two ever, if any at all. This goes for whether you’re a porn-tastic blond or an average older lady sitting behind a desk all day. Everybody is different. A lot different. So sure a few women might see this model and say “wow, she looks like me, and with this product she looks fantastic,” but the majority of women will STILL think “I look nothing like that so what’s the point?” They can’t please everyone, but they have to do their best by appealing to as many people as possible, and so this means finding what is the most universally considered attractive. If you don’t agree with what they find attractive, well, I assure you they have years of college training and experience that will tell you it’s working despite your opinion. So they’re going to continue. They’re going to keep making money while you keep complaining and basing how you feel about yourself on some random touched-up shot.

I’m not saying you should feel bad about yourself for the sake of filling someone else’s pockets, quite the contrary. I’m just playing devil’s advocate here and reminding you all where these advertisers are coming from and why they continue to do this. Now if they start promoting anything besides the typical supermodel look, sure, you might think, “gee, that company has integrity. Good on them!” But will you buy their crap? Chances aren’t quite as good unless some part of your subconscious still wants what they have, because it thinks they’re better than you. It’s YOUR job, with the assistance of family and friends etc, to keep your self-esteem in check. Not Victoria’s Secret. If you let a few advertisements destroy your self image then a smaller butt isn’t going to fix it.

TL:DR: I fully agree with what you all have to say about the hypocrisy of all this etc. But the thing is, it’s not really the point. These companies exist to make money, and they can only do that by making you feel on some level that their models and the lifestyle they promote are better than yours. That’s how all of this works. If you think you’re just fine without their stuff then you won’t buy it. Sure it’s not sunshine and rainbows, but it’s the harsh, cold world we live in. Self-esteem is your own responsibility.

The Love21 Controversy

You can go ahead and tell me I live under a rock, but I had no idea until recently that Forever21 had launched a maternity line, supposedly geared towards teenagers. This has created a huge controversy, what with all the teen pregnancies and all.
I’ll be the first to admit I hate teen pregnancy and irresponsible sex more than just about anything, but allow me to play devil’s advocate for a moment here.
First of all, Forever21, like any other big corporation, is about making money. They’re not an activist group, they just want you to buy their crap so they’ll have more money and can keep selling you crap. As we all know, teen pregnancy is pretty much the trendiest thing in trendy town, right up there with yoga and sushi and complaining about how fat you are, so it wasn’t going to be long before somebody saw a market in all this. I guess Forever21 is pretty lucky, because they were being a lot more gutsy than their clothes would suggest they are, so they’re the first ones to tap into it. Cha Ching for them, a job well done.
Now sure a lot of these companies have an immense impact on our modern culture through their contributions to advertising, but when you claim that stuff like this encourages teen pregnancy I think you’re being more than a little naive. I know some kids are dumb but are they really that dumb to walk into a Forever21, see the Love21 maternity line, and think to themselves “Like OMG those clothes are SO cute, all I have to do is get knocked up so I can fit into them and therefor fit into my circle of friends too!”? REALLY?? I won’t say this very often, but in this case you are grossly underestimating people’s intelligence.
Lastly, who’s to say that only teenagers shop at this place? I know a lot of fully grown adults, of baby-making age, who squeal over Forever21’s stuff with the best of the teenagers. It’s not like they have an age limit over who shops there, and besides most 20-somethings and even 30-somethings adopt the same styles as teenagers. And damned if they’re going to give it up in favor of mumus with bows when they decide to go ahead and have kids.
So think what you want, but personally I think this is a whole lot of controversy over nothing. People like money, people like trendy styles, and people like making babies. It was only a matter of time before these things became combined.