As the commercial comes on the TV, I notice the black and white of the background. No background music is added, just a slow, solemn voice of a man saying "It doesn't matter who you are, just be." As the models appear, I'm not very impressed. They stand with a prominent slouch and look as if they are starving, dying a slow death. Their hair is plastered against their faces which have no expressions at all. These are the Calvin Klein ads. What is he thinking anyway?
Commercials are a big part of the positive and negative influences on teenagers. This particular ad is one of many Calvin Klein ads shown everyday. They are targeted at the younger generation even though the ad states that "it doesn't matter who you are ..." It saddens me to see these anorexic-looking models all the time. If it doesn't matter who you are, then why do these models look that way? I can't imagine being one of those models, namely Kate Moss, and knowing my looks would have such a profound influence on young girls. It's not beautiful to look anorexic. Even worse, I don't see many models showing off their brains. I see a tall woman with long, beautiful hair and a gorgeous body. Even though this may be her job, what we see is not her real character, rather her shell. What good are you to society if you're only showing how well you can put on lipstick or how well you wear a tight, strapless, black dress. Being a girl, I find this very competitive. I constantly find myself checking my make-up and fixing my hair. Isn't it time for a positive image?
I turn to page ten in my People magazine. Wow. I'm impressed! African-American Jackie Joyner-Kersee, a gold-medal track and field star is posing for this ad. She is not wearing some overly expensive dress with her hair all done up. She is wearing her Olympic outfit with her running shoes. The image she portrays is real. Her character is on the outside, not a shell. She portrays a strong, outgoing woman with skyscraper goals. Even with all of this, she is a beautiful African-American woman who, by the way, isn't a size two.
This ad had a huge effect on me. I want to be known as a woman who is strong, has goals and can reach her potential. I want people to see my ad and say "Wow, she is so accomplished" not "Gee, I wish I looked like her in a bikini." Even though it would be nice to look like those stereotypical models, they're just genetic freaks. What our society needs is more positive images. I don't want to hang the model industry, but how can we see clearly with all that make-up in our eyes; if you know what I mean.
Glamour magazine is big on printing articles that tell about the right make-up to use or what outfit would look best if you had a pear-shaped body. I admit these things are helpful. I even use these beauty tips in my everyday life. The problem comes when it's overly advertised. Many women walk around with blinders on, getting caught up in the beauty web. How can we get out of this web that sucks so many young girls in every day? By advertising more Jackie Joyner-Kersees. That is not to say that she isn't beautiful, she is. Her advertisements show what every young girl needs to see: poise, goals, and the ability to succeed. ?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.