Thursday, May 16, 2013

Capitalism - We're Just Not That Into You

External beauty. Let's fret over that, shall we?

"Love at first sight." What is that? Perhaps, more accurately, it is lust at first sight. Or intrigue at first sight, with a healthy dose of selective memory. Thank god for our brains. Without them, we would be unable to revise our own history in our heads. We might actually have to experience a useful degree of shame.

Beauty. Dove tells us you can be a fat chick and still be beautiful. Well, that's convenient for Dove, isn't it? You can be beautiful too, AS LONG AS YOU STILL BUY DOVE PRODUCTS, YA FUCK.

Either way, the message is that you still must be (physically) beautiful to have any value. We're blithering morons, so our natural assumption is that it's either beauty or UGLINESS, and that there is no room for complexity.

Commercial advertisements harass and belittle us. They manipulate our standards and our perceptions of our needs and wants. How come we're only ever privy to this when they exploit our sexuality? Is there not a certain degree of hypocrisy in the magnitude to which we respond angrily to attractive people being used in advertisements vs. all other forms of stereotypes, simplifications, generalizations, and otherwise absolute fabrications?

Modern marketing treats its "consumers" (human beings under the guise of cogs and tools) as children, and us kiddies eat it up. People love being told what to buy. Perhaps we miss that parental direction. Perhaps we lack any form of direction whatsoever.

So it's underwhelming to me when the only criticism anyone can offer up against the majority of advertisements is in the form of "that model is too skinny/curvy/made up/shopped/etc." or, "HEY LOOK HOW MUCH MORE IT MAKES MEN WANT TO FUCK WOMEN. SEXUAL ENTITLEMENT BONER."

I'm in favor of gender equality. That is, I'm in favor of treating individual human beings as such. For example, I wouldn't exclude the possibility of having a woman play on my favorite professional sports team simply on the basis of her being a woman. I wouldn't expect it, but I'm not against it at all if that individual athlete can be competitive. Natural inequalities exist between sexes and between genders, and of course we're prone to making way too big a deal out of those differences. We use them to justify arbitrary differences that we construct socially.

I do recognize that it is bad that advertisements objectify women. But where is the outrage over the way in which humans are objectified by capitalism in general? It's present, sure. But this is a voice that is not nearly as damning as the one screaming "GIVE THAT MODEL A SANDWICH...PREFERABLY A BURGER...FROM BURGER KING. I LIKE THOSE."

Is it because other forms of objectification are more fulfilling to us? Is selling blow pops more personally gratifying than selling blowjobs? Why is that? Is there any more inherent value in selling someone useless shit they don't need, or did we just kind of make that one up to compensate?

Or is using our sexuality to sell a product still bad, but better in smaller doses? I really don't know! I just wish we hated our bodies a whole lot less than we do! It's tiring, the anxiety, and it restricts us from a lot of enjoyable and FULFILLING experiences in life.

I suppose my problem is that there is an awful lot of bitching and moaning that falls into the same patterns of thought that advertisers always manage to benefit from. There's a legitimate gripe, but it's too shallow in its execution for it to hold any positive sway over the ways in which we're marketed to. As long as we're willing to be dipshits, we will be treated as such.

The recent Abercrombie & Fitch fiasco shouldn't surprise anyone. At least, the attitude should not be of any surprise. The fact that the dude came right out and said it, however, is weird.

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