Ok, the post title sounds a bit brutal for a chirpy wifestyle blog but it’s a genuine question from the heart of this ol’ wrestling wife – are self love brands profiting from our insecurities?
This isn’t asked with ill feeling but, as the world’s latest craze that has notably changed so many peoples’ lives for the better, I think we need to discuss how sincere some of the self love brands around us really are.
I, for one, have had my entire outlook on life completely re-directed thanks to self love & am eternally grateful for the many sources of self love we’re so lucky to have so easily available to us (especially on Instagram – that self love community there is just incredible & so, so wonderfully diverse!) but I’ve also stumbled across brands who seem to have jumped onto the bandwagon with ulterior motives.
I Ain’t Saying She’s A Gold Digger…
The main ulterior motive is that of money making.
And this, again, isn’t meant with malice because we all have bills to pay & a business’ purpose is to bring in those profits!
But every confident, positive individual that bloomed into a self-loving wonder still has the roots of insecurity & using the likes of body acceptance in marketing campaigns seems very much to me like praying on these insecurities for financial gain.
Take the summer campaign for Boots, for example, which seems on the surface to be very body positive & a great promotion of self love.
But you don’t have to analyse it deeply to see the many things that are so questionable about it – it has a strong focus on elements of normal life that a lot of us could quite rightly take offense with or that could, even worse, rekindle our past feelings of insecurity:
- The TV ad massively hones in on curve pride by using two beautiful women who Boots/”the media” see as plus size as their campaign heroines, but this is offensive to both plus size and average size women; plus sizes (as in size 16+) are irked by their attempt to represent us with women who are – what most would see as – average sized & the average sized or slim women are riled by their portrayal of the slim women featured being snobby & judgmental of fuller figures.
- The summer body billboard the two leading ladies look at but go against with their own bikini bodies implies that, unless we purposely choose not to conform, we’re otherwise so brainwashed by the media around us that to make up our own minds is such a novel, rebellious statement. We all have our own mind that we all know how to use in accepting or opposing what we see in the media & to suggest otherwise is plain rude!
- Although the two protagonists become bikini ready with the body confidence to wear their gorgeous two-piece without a care in the world (well done beauties!), they still have to use umpteen Boots products to primp & preen before they feel worthy. Obviously I understand & appreciate that the whole point of this campaign is to sell the items used in the ads but it is totally using our insecurities of imperfect skin & flawed faces to make the sales.
Boots aren’t the first company to do this kind of thing in their marketing &, sadly, they probably won’t be the last but at least other companies – such as Dove & L’Oreal – have backed up their self love promotion by creating their own educational workshops or donate a portion of profits made to related charities.
This advertising campaign is a bit of a hot potato & one that probably provokes more questions than answers as well as dividing audiences but it’s definitely one that I think we all should take a bit of time to reflect upon in our journeys of self love.
Separating The BoPo From The BoNo
Is it fair for brands to profit from us in this way or is it a simple case of business practice that we should accept is part of modern life?
Are we being oversensitive to react so negatively to something so trivial or is it something that we need to stand up against for positive inclusive representation from companies like this?
Should fuller figures recognise the positive in this type of plus size representation as opposed the negative aspersions that are all too often cast about the curve community or is better to have no representation at all if it’s all missing the mark so much?
Regardless of shape & size, can we be naturally beautiful & confident or do even the most body positive among us still use beauty products as per the Boots ad to give us the boost we need to get there?
And if we do rely on beauty products to enhance our natural beauty, where is the line drawn when it comes to natural beauty?
Because nobody questions contoured make up when it comes to the whole Real Vs Fake debate so should we accept this too?
Down To Business
I don’t have the answers but I know how I personally feel about all of this; I understand business practice & why this campaign exists but in order for this kind of so-called plus size representation to become more commonplace with mainstream brands & less exclusive in its representation, we need to hold our tongues in hope that one unopposed curve campaign can lead to more.
It doesn’t stop me cringing any less at the cheesy cliche of the Boots TV ad nor does it make me want to rush out to buy their beach body moisturisers but, at the same time, it doesn’t reduce me to an emotional wreck of insecurity who compares her big, unworthy wobbly bits to their small, worth wobbly bits.
As for Real Vs Fake… Well, that’s another story for another day. And you might be surprised by my feelings on the issue.
Mrs Walmsley| The Unseasoned Wag x
(“Are Self Love Brands Profiting From Our Insecurities?” was first published by Mrs Dani Walmsley on “The Unseasoned Wag” blog)