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Happiness Cannot Be Found in a Shampoo or Soda Bottle

November 7, 2012

Article and Images by Darlene Vincent, Girls on the Run of Atlanta’s fall intern from Georgia Gwinnett College

From adolescent girls to their mothers and even grandmothers, females are constantly exposed to misleading messages in the media, as strategic and rhetorical advertisements plaster magazine pages, engulf billboard expanses, and consume television commercials. Throughout the day’s lesson, these Gwinnett Girls on the Run girls learned to be wary of advertising ploys as they explored a range of magazine ads that portray—and often exploit—women. For instance, the team dissected each image with questions like “Who created this message or picture?” and “What is the purpose of this advertisement?” Ultimately, the girls were encouraged to ask, “Is this a healthy message for girls?” and discovered that many seemingly harmless ads were actually harmful, as misleading messages embedded within the magazine images included the false notions that shampoo will make you pretty or well-liked, while certain shoes will make you fit or attractive.

Moreover, the coaches explained how celebrity endorsement is a powerful tool employed by companies to entice many young girls. Several of the girls admitted that when their favorite bands and celebrities endorse products, the girls are more inclined to “jump on the bandwagon” and buy the drinks, clothes, or items featured in the celebrity-laden advertisements. However, no matter what singers or actresses are depicted as users of a product, drinking a particular soda will not satisfy an aspect of one’s life—aside from thirst perhaps—while using a certain brand of makeup will not make someone popular or plant a permanent smile on one’s face.

Additionally, another danger of advertisement is the obsession with airbrushing models and cover girls in order to present a literally unattainable “beauty.” In response to this airbrush-craze, Dove produced this short yet shocking clip that showcases the “evolution” a model experiences from photo shoot to billboard. Watch how an average woman is transformed into the makeup industry’s projection of beauty and see why this minute-long video ends with the claim, “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.”

As a group, the GOTR girls discussed how they are not defined by the shampoos they use, the clothes they wear, or the products they buy, but that their identities are crafted by what’s on the inside. So, after exploring the advertising world and its tactics, when asked to describe powerful girls, the teammates suggested adjectives such as “confident,” “intelligent,” and “kind”—not “stylish,” “thin,” or “popular”—are what make girls strong and beautiful.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 4, 2016 11:22 am

    More hello kitty girl!

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