But the image industry is enjoying that you might not think you do.

I cringe every time I see the ad with half a dozen societally deemed perfect looking woman walking around the inside of a museum-like mansion as if they’re prancing down the runway of a fashion show. The first time I saw it I thought, what the heck are they selling? Clothing? A dating app? One of the women spins atop a rooftop, the kind of scene where you expect to see the bad guy in the movie meet his getaway helicopter. Nope. No helicopter. Just this serious looking young woman making unexaggerated duck lips. Ah ha! Lipstick! They’re trying to sell us…. Lipstick?

The ad ends with the women continuing their runway walk, side by side, down an empty street. Finally, the viewer gets to find out what this odd creepy ad is selling. Its their faces.

Anti-aging treatment.

So, if I sign up, I’ll suddenly look like a 25-year-old model. Hmmmm. Wait, WHY would I have the desire to look like a 25-year-old model?

As it turns out, the fear of aging has hit an all time high. A hundred years’ worth of crises, disasters and unrest all wrapped up in what will likely become a spoken like a four-letter word, 2020 has lingered on like a bad hangover into 2021, and we’re worried about wrinkles?

It’s been dubbed The Zoom Effect. 64% of plastic surgeons in the United States have seen an increase in consultations since the beginning of the pandemic. Anti-aging products, especially under eye treatments are in high demand. Of all the things to reflect on during a year of being at least semi-isolated, how we look on a video meeting shouldn’t be one of them. However, if you did go down this propagandized road, it’s not your fault.

There is big money in profiting from your insecurities. The beauty industry itself is a 532 BILLION dollar money maker. The diet and weight loss industry a whopping $72 BILLION. It was bad enough when we were targeted with these ads via television, radio and magazines. Now, you can’t read an online news article without scrolling past half a dozen of them. You can’t scroll through social media without seeing them. You can’t have a conversation out loud without seeing an ad the next day for something you were talking about. Wherever there is free content, you will find these ads. Marketing insecurity is completely a psychologically based effort. It is aimed straight for our subconscious brain. The part of the brain that has the most influence on our behavior and has one goal, to ensure you survive for as long as possible. In order to survive we need to eat food, drink water, avoid danger and secure safety. Humans have survived the last few hundred thousand years because we realized there is safety in numbers. We’re altruistic social creatures, it’s what makes us so good at surviving. Marketers know we have a primal need to belong, so they run with it. This decades long campaign of convincing Americans that youth and beauty (whatever beauty looks like at the time) is expected and signs of aging are your pink slip from society is working.

Now I’m not suggesting we all stop showering and start wearing potato sacks. We need to take care of our bodies. If there has ever been a time in our lives that we have realized how much we want to avoid serious health problems this is it. Eat healthy food and exercise because you don’t want diabetes, or clogged arteries or stiff joints. Don’t let some image of a lady in a bikini holding her old big t-shirt be your motivation.   

There is also nothing wrong with taking care of our skin. Good skincare can help avoid acne, infections and sun damage. Of course, we want to take care of our bodies in a way that allows aging to take a natural progression. But being terrified of normal aging is like living in a state of denial of all reality.

Now, the next time you find yourself staring at your little square on a virtual video meeting…. remember you look just fine! And if you still have even an ounce of doubt, remember this wise saying from the philosopher Lao Tzu~

“Care about people’s approval and you will always be their prisoner”

Meaningful Living

Audrey L Elder