Not too plain to smile!
Next time you’re in public, look around you. For every young, glamorous person I bet there’ll be ten who are overweight, have bad hair or are just plain.
Let’s face it, we can’t choose our genes so why are those dealt a particularly poor hand (and that might include me but don’t you dare say it) consigned to marketing anonymity?
Take the head shots on LinkedIn home page. Yes, there’s a diversity of gender and skin colour but why are they all young? It’s a ‘professional network’ where you ‘manage your professional identity’. How many LinkedIn members want to manage their professional identity into the modelling business? Very few is my guess.
Smile makeover with sex change?
Before you start smirking, the dentistry profession is no better. The images depicting tooth whitening don’t make me envious of the pearly whiter than whites, just resentful of the clear-skinned, bright-eyed, high-cheek boned, glossy-haired head they in.
How about a smile makeover? Will it make me look as tall, slim, and elegant as the woman in the picture? Not without a complete body makeover it won’t. And what about my husband? What will a smile makeover do for him? Who knows – men are very rarely shown. Does a smile makeover involve a sex change? I think we should be told.
An ideal world?
Jean Kilbourne, internationally recognised for her pioneering work on alcohol and tobacco advertising and the image of women in advertising, wrote: ‘Advertising creates a mythical, mostly white world in which people are rarely ugly, overweight, poor, struggling or disabled, either physically or mentally (unless you count the housewives who talk to little men in toilet bowls).’
I’m not alone
There may be reason to hope for a change in the advertising industry. Back in 2009, Peter Walker wrote in The Guardian about new research being carried out at Cambridge University Judge business school, stating: ‘In what is believed to be the first such global survey of female consumers' attitudes, the research says women respond more favourably to a brand if the models it uses somehow mirror their own identities.’
Move over Gisele Bundchen!
She, by the way, is a supermodel known as ‘the Boobs from Brazil’ and said to have inspired 36,000 breast enhancement surgeries in Brazil in 2000 alone (which rather deflates my argument but then that was 16 years ago). Anyway, as soon as she vacates the catwalk, I’m available…