In The Eye Of The Older Beholder

Model Cindy Joseph started getting work when she let her hair go grey. She has also started her own line of cosmetics.
May 10th, 2012

I recently read an article in my favorite guilty pleasure, Daily Mail Online, that announced this: “Research showing that the baby boom generation are spending more than ever on fashion every year has modelling and talent agencies jumping on the band wagon and recruiting older models onto their books. Because boomers make up such a large consumer market… the faces and figures that advertise the brands they wear need to portray an image to which they can relate themselves.

To which I said, out loud to my computer screen, “What the hell took so long!?”

I have long wondered what advertisers are thinking when they try and sell me something with models who are a) in their late teens or early 20s, b) airbrushed into plastic perfection, and c) look miserable, hostile, or vacuous. I mean, creating aspirational images for women makes sense, but there must be a happy medium somewhere. It would be nice if the images of women meant to sell us things looked even remotely like us.

Most women look at advertising images and instantly think, “I wish I looked like that.” Then the subconscious inner monologue continues, “I suck because I don’t look like that. Maybe if I buy that product I will look like that, or at least think I look like that for an hour after I buy it.” Rejuvenating face crème on a 25-year-old model, or on a 40-year-old model whose face has been retouched into oblivion, makes me think that advertisers think we’re all desperate, stupid, or deluded. Which we’re not, right?

I, for one, would be much more apt to buy a product if it were being worn by a woman my own age who looks great and to whose reality I can rationally aspire. That doesn’t seem like so much to ask, now does it?

Next time you see an ad with a woman your own age in the photo or artwork, let the advertiser know that you appreciate it. Our female voices can “boom” much louder than we think.



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