The Sunday Leader

The Nether Regions Of Marketing

I saw this eyebrow raising advertisement the other day trying to sell fairness cream for vaginas or, so corrects my spellchecker, vaginae. What will these ingenious Indians think of next? This led me down a train of thought that I’ve often climbed on before, but rarely sat inside until the last stop. Which was ‘Makeup and Fashion’. I heard somewhere that lipstick is mostly red because it mimics the color of a woman’s lips when she is aroused. The same with mascara. Now let’s not get started on that dusky affect your eye-shadow is supposed to produce. A lot of the fashion industry is aimed at beautifying a woman’s body, making it more appealing and sexually attractive to men/other women.
Seems to me that these things have accelerated the objectification of women, sexually or otherwise. If so, many women who champion freedom from objectification have failed to recognize their attachment to the very things that chain them. Is it plausible to expect general society to respect you for your intellect and personality when the first thing thrust at them are your aesthetic credentials?
The mechanism should be  logic. If you’re a militant feminist that walks around with no shirt and copious amounts of chest hair, you’re still not proving anything. Surely, a woman can preserve her dignity and grace while still refusing to be judged predominantly by her looks alone, and still progress independently in the world?
Because otherwise, we must all only be sexually charged animals. Fairness cream for ‘vaginae’ the next item in a long line of products (presumably originating in the sex industry) that seek to transform women into socially acceptable porn stars.
This is also the general problem with marketing, and how we see success today. Marketing is notorious for creating needs that don’t exist. Originally a science developed to sell goods and services, it came up against a blank wall when it realized that there is probably only so much of a product that the market can consume before the need for that product is fulfilled. Recognizing that it is needs that drive demand for products and that without a need for a product, a product will not sell, marketing came up with the ingenious ploy of creating, not new products, but new needs.
Fairness creams for your nether regions are probably just the reminders we need to realize how steeped in useless commercialism modern society is. Half the clothes we wear are probably unnecessary, half the accessories we own can probably be thrown away and half our house is probably full of, for want of a better word, junk. I’m probably being generous with my estimates.
Materialism preaches the power of wealth. Wealth is the come all and be all of existence. Economies are measured in terms of the amount of wealth they produce i.e. their GDPs. People are measured by how much they earn and by the possessions they own. This drives them to earn more money and spend it all on ‘status-enhancing’ products, driving the inexorable wheels of an economy crunching the wasted efforts of several billion people beneath its wheels.
Everything is coordinated to sell. Media, the news, politicians. Marketing has moved beyond the explicit realm of the old fashioned advertisement and has permeated the very culture in which we exist; the culture of consumerism. We consume for the sake of consuming, we consume without rest, in the perpetually unrealized hope that continued consumption will bring us contentment, but of course contentment never comes. But still we persist in designing our lives around consumption; get a degree, get a job and then buy that house, car, flat screen TV and then you’ll be happy. Except that all that stuff won’t make you happy. But maybe fairness creams for your secret parts will? Something to ponder on this Vesak.

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