Fables Of Abundance Essay, Research Paper
The new approaches that advertisers applied to idealize conceptions of the body and health as analyzed by Lears, relate to the two images in many ways. The advertisers began to focus on physiological (materialistic) and psychological (vitalist) perfectionism thus encompassing everyone and often overlapping. This is very prelevent on these two magazine covers. The ‘Fitness’ magazine, at first glance, focuses on the physiological, health aspect but it also has an article that focuses on lowering stress. On the ‘Redbook’ cover, there is a ‘refreshing’ picture of a movie star and a summary of the article about her. The article focuses on the psychological because it focuses on emotionally hard times her and her husband have made it through. It is also physiological though because it has articles about skin, diets, and sex.
In both pictures, beauty is important. The women are both beautiful, slim and healthy looking. They are both smiling leading us to believe that the lifestyle they live in order to look like this makes them happy and if we choose to live this way we will be happy too. They also imply that the women on the covers follow the advice, diets, beauty plans etc. that are found in the magazine.
If looked at from a psychological point of view, the articles imply that by reading them and following them, we will have less stress, a better sex life, be a stronger person, and how to not get ripped off. All of this, while being as beautiful and as happy as the models on the cover.
One of the most important reasons this type of advertising is so successful is it plays on a persons insecurities and fears. Women who want to lose weight, are afraid their husbands/boyfriends are going to cheat on them, who feel they have bad skin, fear they are under too much stress and are therefore unhealthy, who fear breast cancer etc. will buy these magazines out of fear. Some women who feel good about themselves but are curious may buy these, but the majority of women have manipulated into believing that the answers to their problems are within in their grasp in the pages of a magazine.
This type of advertising has created an unrealistic version of the ‘woman’. It has created a frenzied race to be perfect. Women want to be successful in the workplace, perfect mothers, thin and healthy, gourmet cooks, sexual goddesses, and stimulating wives. In essence, they are burning out by trying to reach an unattainable goal.
But women buy into it and the articles give them hope and so the hope is continually sustained. By preying on their deepest fears and hopeful desires, the advertising world has them ensnared in a sticky web of make believe. The same advertising strategies that scared people into buying soap and deodorant and pain medication etc. way back when, still work wonders today for everything.
There is a void when it comes to advertising focusing on what women really need. It is hard to even imagine it being filled because women are so engrossed in the viscous circle of advertising that they are unaware of what they really need. They are so concerned with ‘fixing’ themselves that there is little time to figure out what ‘really’ feeds their insecurities. A disservice has been rendered to women since their real needs are being overlooked and/or ignored. The advertising has taken it upon itself to try to mold women the way they believe they should be and there are many different opinions of how they should be.
The advertisers have also done a disservice to men by making them the center of a woman’s existence. They used men to manipulate women into using makeup, dieting, cooking, buying cleaning products etc. They portray the majority of men as ‘dissatisfied’ with the way their wives were doing things. They tend to make men the ‘bad guy’ because they are ‘never satisfied’. This may in part be true, but not in whole. Again, another large injustice.
The advertisers of today and yesterday have put too many burdens on the woman. They have made her responsible for the child rearing, keeping together the marriage, maintaining a job, keeping up the house, looking like a supermodel etc., all with a smile.
Advertising is an invitation to a game of manipulation that has very few rules and that we all play into at one time or another. It is a shame that such a powerful tool that could be used positively in a world that is in dire need of positive influence is largely negative on a subconscious level and therefore very dangerous.