I just saw a commercial for Old Navy where everything shimmers. I guess they are introducing a metallic sort of line, or something, but it’s a sort of new age commercial that leaves those of us who are inherently style channeled just a bit confused. But the one thing I was VERY clear on was the sexy lifeguard who showed up at the end of the commercial, bringing the shimmering maiden some ice tea. Or something like that.
I thought, “Hunh. That never happens to me”
And it’s not as if I’m in need of a hunky, tatooed lifeguard at this point in my life. But somebody, anybody, bringing me a free drink—well, let’s just say I wouldn’t say no. Well, I would to the iced tea, of course, but put some Crystal Lite in that tumbler, baby, and we are good to go.
Now, we all know the maiden and her would-be rescuer are straight from central casting, and if and when scenarios like the one in the commercial ever really do play out, there is a seriously high creep factor. But the commercial uses a promise to entice you to buy their shiny stuff, and Old Navy cannot be held liable for any emotional trauma suffered if you do actually buy the gold bikini, but, instead of acting out the part of Princess Leah in your own Luke Skywalker’s Return of the Jedi fantasy, you end up filling the role of Jabba the Hut.
Old Navy is not alone in this deception. Oh no. According to what I’ve seen just this past week written on various household items:
My hair should be lustrous, healthy, manageable, with all splits ends repaired.
Eating Cheerios with my family should make everybody smile a lot.
I should have received a personal message from Spring, informing me of her happiness about me choosing the Oreos laden with yellow #5 and decorated with happy bunnies hopping, because apparently, the yellow ones are Spring AND milk’s favorite cookie.
In reality, my unmanageable, stringy locks lack luster while I obsessively comb through them to see how many times one hair can split (my highest count in nine times. Sorry, is that TMI?), Cheerios only makes my dog super happy when my baby hucks them on the floor, and Spring hasn’t called, y’all.
She may have misplaced my cell phone number, though, so we’ll just cut her some slack on that one.
When I stop and think about the sheer BULK of messages we get DAILY about what and how our lives should look like, it’s not hard to realize why women are obsessed with perfection. And I’m not just talking about body image issues, which we’ve discussed before. I’m talking about the pefect family eating breakfast with mom and dad in a cutesy kitchen on the back of the cereal box, the woman in the Clorox commercial putting bleach in her washer next to a perfectly folded pile of clothes in a well organized laundry room that, might I add, also appears to be bigger than my first apartment, and the prints of the mom giving out hand sanitizer to her boys in the car that is totally clean. Seriously, nobody with 3 boys who play soccer has a clean minivan! Nobody! (And if you are holding up your hand saying, “Oooh, me, I do, I do!”, please just acknowledge your freakishness and let the rest of the slobs live in peace.)
This isn’t a new topic at all. Sorry. It’s just hit me harder than normal recently what we women wade through on a daily basis, promises that are made to us not just about our bodies but about our homes, our families, our children, and our jobs that are completely empty. I imagine most of us are savvy enough to realize that advertising is just that, and that you don’t expect to come out of the shower after using Pert Plus’ new and improved formula looking like Mia Hamm. But even though we know how and why these promises are being made, I can’t help but think that they must affect us in subtle and ultimately negative ways that make us feel bad about what our own lives look like. And the messages about Celestial Glory and Eternal life? Powerful messages too, but Satan definitely hired a flashier PR firm.
How do you wade through the muck? Are there some things that are harder for you to ignore than others, like the mini-van thing doesn’t bother you but MAN you HATE that commercial where they wipe up paw prints from a perfectly clean floor because really, who has a clean floor when you have a DOG THE SIZE OF SMALL HORSE??!!
Ok then, that might just be me.
Let me know where you get the good messages, the real ones, and what keeps you grounded. And if you have some suggestions for split ends, I’d love those, too.
And Dalene, by my watch, it’s 11:31 pm, so I really did post this on the day I said I would. Um, better late than never?