I take commercials very very seriously.
When I watch a commercial, I'm hyper aware of what message is trying to be put across. What psychological buttons are being pushed, and what sort of magic the products are promising. I'm so cynical, I'm like an ad firms worst nightmare. You cannot make me want a product. I guess all my communications classes really got in my head.
I've been like this since I was little though too. I would always refuse to wear clothes with logos on them because "why should I be a walking billboard?". This also had a side effect of making me wicked uncool. But whatever!
The ad that's bugging me today is the Alli commercial that was on the ABC episode player last night. We were watching lost (natch), we're like half way through the 2nd season now.
Alli is a weight loss drug. It inhibits the amount of fat your body takes in during digestion. It has similar side-effects to our good old friend Olestra, the fat substitute, in that it makes you poop yourself. Hooray!
Anyways, the commercial features a testimony from a woman named Cheryl, who has lost 30 pounds with Alli. The line that killed me was:
"When I look at pictures of myself from before?" As she covers her face in shame, "It's disgusting."
Yeah, thanks Cheryl. While I can understand feeling proud of your new body and ashamed of how you let yourself go, you don't need to broadcast these feelings of self-degradation out to the whole world.
By presenting your body with shame, you are proclaiming that all women that looked like you deserve to feel disgusted by their bodies, and creating a platform for so many other people to take on these feelings of disgust for themselves. You're creating a conduit for low self-esteem for everyone.
I totally get why the drug peddlers put this line in. It's to get into the heads of people who already feel this way, harness their shame, and make them feel like buying Alli is the answer. It has the sick side effect though of making people who are perfectly normal reassess themselves, and make them wonder if they need the magic loose stool pill. They want to make people think "Do people look at pictures of me and think I'm disgusting?" "Do I need to cover my face in shame?" "Maybe I need to go buy some pills."
(Just a sidenote, the PAL perscription advocacy group gave the makers of this drug an AMAZING award : "The with Allies like this, who needs enemas?" trophy.lolz)
Maybe I'm overreacting. But I do feel when people refer to their bodies as "disgusting" on tv, shit like this happens to little girls.