Ask Glenna: Should Only “Pretty People” Star In Ads?
In this month’s installment, a young woman seeks advice on an ongoing debate with her friends: should only “pretty people” star in advertisements? And another wonders why she is self-sabotaging a relationship with her boyfriend.
What I am worried about is how my friends and significant others view the world, and people around us. There’s an ongoing fight between my friends that only attractive people should be in commercials. While on first glimpse, I can tell a “10” from a “1”, everything between that is muddled for me, and includes more than just a person’s physical appearance. How do they carry themselves? How do they vocalize? Is their personality worthwhile or a waste of time?
I’m pretty sure that commercials shouldn’t only reflect the 1% who are “10s”, but I also don’t know what the 1% is. It’s a running joke that I am always looking for a redeeming quality in an otherwise “unconventional” or “unattractive” people. Why should that even be a joking matter? Why should my standards for who I deem attractive even come into question?
Do you have any advice for my side of this argument? I really think it could be a foothold in changing not necessarily the standards of beauty, but how my friends look at people in general.
Dear Attractive Female,
You seem to have a very healthy view of yourself and others. Worrying about how everyone else understands beauty might literally drive you insane. All you can do is lead by example, letting your confidence and appreciation be infectious.
When it comes to the discussion about commercials, I would suggest that you advise your friends to, well, read a book. Advertising is a very involved science. Billions of dollars have been spent on years and years of research, all to figure out how to sell a product to billions of people in under 10 seconds. The actors hired to sell certain types of products, such as cosmetics and cruises, are not chosen, dressed, composed, and airbrushed to be “beautiful”, but to be super-human, god/goddess-like representations of an ideal; thereby associating a product with this ideal in under ten seconds. You will notice, if you watch commercials carefully, that these individuals do not necessarily adhere to a strict set of “hotness standards”.
Case and point: Queen Latifah. She is larger, blacker, and gayer than the typical “model-type”, yet she is arguably the most gorgeous human being on the planet. Who wouldn’t buy a mascara that promises to make us look a little more like she does? Aside from these “beauty” focused products, a significant number of commercials do involve “average-looking” actors in order to connect products with the audience on a “we’re just like you!” level. You could also debunk the argument of your friends just by pointing out that Gary Busey is in a TON of commercials. (No offense to you, Mr. Busey, if you are reading this). Keep up your great attitude and good luck!
At times I don’t feel pretty enough. My boyfriend tells me I’m beautiful but I tell him “No, I’m not.” We get into arguments because I tell him I’m not pretty enough for him, that he must be cheating on me with other girls, but he says “No, you’re my one and only, you’re beautiful, what else do I want in a girl?” I’m worried that I’ll drive him away, but I don’t know what to do about my low self-esteem.
Think of a song you really like and imagine that every time it comes on somebody tells you that it is a terrible song that you should not like. That would be not only irritating, but also pretty frustrating, as you are entitled to your own opinion. As I am sure you are aware, you are lucky to be with someone who can so openly express his appreciation for the way you look. He is entitled to his opinion and it is just not fair of you to tell him that his opinion is wrong. Just because you do not agree does not mean you need to argue or accuse him of cheating, just thank him and let it go.
If you are convinced that you do not deserve compliments, then you owe it to yourself to get help for this. Hating the way you look is no way to live, and you do not have to suffer forever. You will find that therapy and positive self affirmations will dramatically improve your perception of yourself. It can be a difficult process, but change starts with making a commitment to seek help and put forth the effort. While you are working to overcome this negative state of mind, let your boyfriend express his opinion without any argument. It may help to tell him about your intention to learn to love yourself, and to apologize for previously rejecting his kind words. I promise that it will get easier.
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