Wednesday, April 17, 2013

You Are More Beautiful Than You Think

So recently I've been doing a lot of computer based posts. You can kind of tell that I flit between two versions of myself. The one that looks at social issues. And the one that has a job to do. They at times feel mutually exclusive - a lot like me reading. I find it really difficult to read a book while I'm working (though an exception can be made if there's "forced reading time" i.e. a daily trip on a bus).

So it's time for one of those more social posts. Lynda (thanks Lynda - needed someone to get me thinking outside of computers) did a brilliant blog post today found here. Dove's advertising is, for me, probably the most pervasive advertising out there. It makes you think. It questions some of those things that I have difficulty with. Though take it with a grain of salt - the message is good. But it is still advertising (despite not showing a single product - it's more about brand identity).

For example, I can't for the life of me figure out why 96% of woman struggle with self image issues. A few years a go I stumbled upon a dating website which had a whole lot of woman on it which I found rather surprising. The kind of woman who's appearances, to me, would put them in that "born with a partner" category.

Incidentally, I ended up putting up a profile because I was kind of curious about something else. Going through profiles I found that people didn't really say much about themselves. I mean, there were bits between the lines - things that you could ascertain from the little content or pictures (having a profile picture showing them and a friend for example says something about self image), but for the most part, people didn't really talk about themselves all that much in profiles. So I kind of wondered if putting it all out there (positives and negatives - so mentioning that I'm a geek but talking about passions etc.) would have people curious and eager to contact me. It so happens that my curiosity has been sated. I think I got 2 or 3 people contacting me over a number of years.

Which has me wondering... do self image issues have a relationship to our ... inability to express ourselves? For fear of sounding "pervy" or our intentions being misunderstood? How would you handle being called "good looking" or "beautiful" by a complete stranger? Would you take it as a genuine compliment? Or would we seek other motives? I've got absolutely no doubt that we all manage to reinforce our self image - be it positive or negative.

Oh and just for an interesting little tidbit.... Britney Spears makes for an interesting case study... In 2002 Britney Spears was listed by Forbes as the number 1 most powerful celebrity of the year (I'm not entirely sure what scale "powerful" pertains to but it is positive reinforcement). However, use the search terms "britney spears fat" in google and the top result is the following:

It just kind of goes to show - even with the most positive reinforcement, just 5 years later, Britney Spears had managed to find a self image issue... (I put forward that this is probably due to an unfortunate wardrobe which, in turn, is probably due to trying to recapture something of herself when Forbes published that result...). Do we trick ourselves into seeing a compliment for the present/past only?

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