Hey there, awesome readers!
Do mirrors ever yell at you?
For the record, I’m fully aware of what a ridiculous question that is. Mostly because I already know your answer:
“OF COURSE MY MIRROR YELLS AT ME. Why? How did you know?”
How did I know? Because everyone’s mirror yells at them. That’s what mirrors do. Although I have to say this:
Mirrors didn’t ALWAYS yell at us. I blame the media.
Wait. Let me backtrack …
The inspiration for this post came when I read about what OshKosh B’Gosh, the children’s clothing company, is doing:
They’re including a 15-month-old baby with Down syndrome in their ad campaign.
Do you know what this means?
It means that a big corporation is doing the right thing. Big corporations, by nature of their existence, are traditionally in business with one goal in mind: to make money. And they do this by reaching their target market with messaging that shouts:
“If you buy our product, you will look like THIS.”
“If you buy our product, you will feel like THIS.”
Where “look” and “feel” equate to perfection.
These types of campaigns take advantage of how we’re NOT looking and feeling (perfect) and make a promise to give us what we
This is marketing 101: Sell the perceived benefit. Not the product.
And yet OshKosh B’Gosh has decided to step out of the traditional paradigm of bottom lines and into the role of social goodness.
Why is this the right thing?
Because for too long now, the media has had power over our own self-acceptance by glorifying perfection.
The perfect smile …
The perfect body …
The perfect hair …
The only difference – the only REAL difference – between advertisements with images of perfect people and our mirrors is that our mirrors don’t have Photoshop.
Perfection isn’t real. What we see in magazines … on billboards … it’s all an illusion. And yet we look in the mirror and chastise ourselves because our reflection isn’t the flawless beauty that bombards our perception throughout the day. It’s hogwash. Also brainwash.
Behind the scenes of a photoshoot
Years ago when I worked for an ad agency one of our mandates was to put together a catalogue for our client, a clothing company.
When the model walked in for the photoshoot she looked like crap. She had come directly from an all-night house party and regardless of how young she was, it showed on her face and even in the way that she carried herself. She was tired. Even haggard-looking.
The make-up artist did her magic. The photographer charmed the setting with his lighting. The hairstylist brought the model’s tasseled hair back to life. Transformed and being the professional that she was, the model knew how to talk to the camera. All went well.
But it wasn’t until AFTER the photoshoot – after the model had left the building – that perfection came into play. Electronically, her eyes were revitalized, her complexion brightened, and all flaws were removed with the click of a mouse. Trust me, awesome readers, when I say that the girl that walked into the shoot and the girl that ended up on the pages of the catalogue were two different people. One was real with a little help. The other was an electronic enhancement of fairytale illusion.
This brainwashing is so powerful that it doesn’t only affect us “regular” folks; it even pressures celebrities as demonstrated by their investment (and obsession) with plastic surgeons. The goal? To lift, tuck, and reverse the hands of time in an effort to look 25 or 35 forever. Because gods forbid, anyone should look less than perfect.
And now OshKosh B’Gosh, with their new campaign, is sending out a different kind of message. They’re encouraging us ALL to look in our mirrors and embrace ourselves for who we are, AS WE ARE.
This is big. This is a huge step in a direction that takes us AWAY from looking in our mirrors and comparing ourselves to the illusions of perfection that are plastered all over billboards and magazine pages.
Perfection isn’t real. It’s a deception that takes us away from our own self acceptance.
Perfection is an illusion that stops us from embracing our real selves.
Star for you OshKosh B’Gosh!