On April 16, 2013 we spent part of the class watching the HULU video: America the Beautiful. While I was sitting in class a lot of things came to mind about the way society and major brands target young women. Personally, I do not accuse major brands of being the root of the problem. Cosmetic brands are simply cashing in on a huge industry that has been put in place long before them. All cultures throughout time have placed an emphasis and pressures for women to look beautiful. However, as this relates to consumer behavior, I found some of the observations throughout the documentary to be very compelling.
The documentary started off by asking a simple question; “What kind of girls are you attracted to and why?” It is not difficult to describe the type of person you are attracted to, but coming up with a reason is more complicated. In today’s world, society places so much value on looks, but does not take into account the serious consequences it has on young women.
Brands seem to exploit insecurities, but they argue it is just the way the world is now. Regardless of billboards and advertisements women are always going to be influenced by some stimulus. People are so focused on a kind of beauty that is unattainable, but brands use this rationalization to position their companies. One major company states “Establish a problem and position yourself as the solution.” Teenagers in the U.S. make up such a small percentage of the world, but are exposed to 40% of the World’s advertisements.
Being perceived as beautiful leads many young women to various products and brands they think will help them obtain this unrealistic fantasy. Mark Baptiste a major photographer shared his feelings on the issue, “The dream is not real, it’s just a photograph that’s it, but if I can sell you something, so be it.”
The “Dove Evolution” video shows how much work goes into making the models look like they do. After watching it, you begin to realize how ridiculous the pressures are on women to look like this on a day-to-day basis.
As said by Mark Baptiste, “We’ll do whatever it takes to make the image perfect.”
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If you would like check out the rest of the documentary, it is available on HULU.