Boosting teenaged girls’ self-esteem

I take offense at so many commercials that it’s practically impossible for me to watch TV without snorting disgustedly or screaming at yet another stupid ad. My latest target: SkinWhite’s ad for their new whitening lotion…for teenagers.

Much has already been said about the Filipina’s unhealthy obsession with skin whitening, and the unfortunate effect that centuries of being under the thumb of some foreign power has done for our concept of beauty–and let’s not forget the ongoing influence of Japanese and Korean pop culture. It’s well known that women are expected to adhere to society’s impossible expectations of beauty. But we could make things a lot easier for future generations of women by boosting their self-esteem, letting them know that they’re all perfect the way they are, and that looking good is perfectly all right, but they don’t have to starve themselves or inject all sorts of unmentionables into their system to make it happen.

I make myself laugh with my own idealism.

Of course no one is going to do that. Playing on people’s insecurity can make a lot of money. Make ’em feel inadequate, make ’em feel ugly and you’ll have them eating out of your hand, or in most cases, opening their wallets to give you all the money they have just to make their problems and problem areas go away. And unfortunately, one of the most insecure people in the world is the teenage girl. That may be a funny idea given that teenagers these days are typically described as being full of themselves and overconfident that they’re the most awesome creatures on the planet, but behind that lies the fact that the teenage girl can be eager for approval; she’s dressing up to look pretty, to be accepted, and to gain the admiration of other people. Credit that to the fact that women are raised to be pleasant and agreeable.

So it’s no surprise that women make fine targets for companies peddling products, lifestyles, and images. Just imagine how many women were lured by the glitz of Sex and the City. Blessedly, not all women are influenced by what media and the advertisers say. However, targeting teenaged girls and using their concerns over growing up and fitting in to sell a product is ten kinds of low. It’s hard enough growing up and dealing with uncomfortable physical changes; hearing that you need to change yourself and your appearance just makes things worse, and to recommend using a product allegedly formulated with ingredients to lighten your skin is not just an insult, it’s unhealthy. Of course, I’m not saying that all teenaged girls will be swayed into buying this product. Nevertheless, the concept of a skin whitening lotion for teenaged girls is just irresponsible. It doesn’t make them feel better about themselves nor does it encourage them to take care of themselves the right way. It just makes them think, “Hey, maybe there is something wrong with me and my skin. I think I do need that lotion.” Heck of a way to improve girls’ image of themselves and believe that they’re beautiful the way they already are. Thanks, skin care companies and the dimwit advertisers who come up with your concepts.

And don’t me get started on Palmolive’s Fashion Girl shampoo.


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