The Commodification of Women’s Media

The irony of the media targeted toward women is that it preaches “self-love” while simultaneously providing women endless reasons to hate themselves. Media targeted at women has always contained destructive messages, and though women's magazines have certainly evolved over the years, they still contain the same damaging themes they always have. These messages used to be largely confined to magazines and print media, but they now attack you every time you open your Instagram feed. The rise of the social media influencer has assured that women and girls must be constantly aware of all the ways in which they will never be good enough. 

Media targeted at women bombards us constantly with ways we could be more attractive: here’s how to lose ten pounds in one week, here’s a new procedure to make your lips bigger, your skin clearer, your hair shinier, and your ass more toned. Regardless of the surface level “feminist” and “empowering” ideals these medias claim to promote, they still very much enforce the idea that you will never ever be good enough. But maybe if you buy this skin care line you might start moving in the right direction. 

Why have these destructive themes persisted, despite the constant modern movements toward self acceptance? Because the insecurity they create makes it that much easier to turn a profit. For companies who enforce these messages, keeping their consumers insecure about their tummy fat is integral for keeping sales up. For magazines and Instagram models, the insecurity is necessary in keeping the masses engaged. If your consumers aren't insecure, they're not going to be interested in your detox tea. The beauty industry is a thriving multimillion dollar business, but its foundation is rooted in forcing women to believe they are not good enough. Social media does its part by assuring that these destructive messages reach girls at increasingly younger ages. 

It’s important to keep this in mind every time you open your Instagram feed. That Instagram model definitely doesn't look like that in real life, and she’s being paid thousands of dollars to promote the, “detox that has literally changed her life,” whether she drank the tea or not. No one cared about bad breath until Listerine decided that they could sell more mouthwash if they made people insecure about it. Your blackheads aren't a big deal either, but that skin care company would really benefit if you felt bad about them. 

Which is why I remind you to unplug once in a while and keep things in perspective. You're never going to learn to love yourself through these platforms, products, and other outside sources. Self-love is always going to have to come from within, and the beauty industry is always going to be here to make it that much harder.