lifestyle

"My bum is not the problem. These jeans are just a bad shape."

“My fabulous derriere in not the issue…it is the jeans that are poorly shaped.”

 

 

By ANNA JAMES

I really wish my girlfriends would stop telling me that I’m fat.

I don’t know about these jeans.  I grumbled to a girlfriend over the weekend, examining my rear in a garishly lit store changeroom.  Apparently my predicament could be solved by a diet based on a Laguna Beach native plant called Kale, my lady friend offered.

My fabulous derriere in not the issue, I told her in no uncertain terms; it is the jeans that are poorly shaped.

This is not the first time I’ve been offered a product from a friend to remedy an issue I never knew I had, parroted from the pages of a “female” magazine.  As evidenced in DenimGate, we are told by these media outlets that we are imperfect, and the products that they advertise – the perfect solution; rather than look for another pair of jeans, we accuse our thighs as the offender.  Advertising so powerful that we are inadvertently banking on one another’s insecurities.

This is because, if women liked themselves, the economy would fall to pieces.  We live in a world where Lara Bingle, Beyoncé and Miranda Kerr Photoshop their photos – there’s every reason to believe we are everything but fine as we are.

This media advertising woman-on-woman crime system is not a new idea.  It’s engineered on the basis that women share their insecurities, and then the magazine articles that help them “fix” the problem. How many times have you heard about an AH-MAZING cellulite cream over lunch? Enough to put anyone of their chicken enchiladas.

“Apparently my predicament could be solved by a diet based on a Laguna Beach native plant called Kale.”

Magazine articles cultivating a need to sell a product isn’t new; we’ve been failing for this scam for centuries.

And the female authors who author these advertisements thinly disguised as “Helpful” articles are breaking Girl Code to the nth degree.

In addition to this being stomach-churningly unethical, it’s also completely unnecessary.  Because women open their wallets when they feel good, too.

Women have cultivated rituals and communities around shopping – they do not need to be told they are not good enough to pull out their credit card.  Some are more inclined to make purchases when they feel amazing.

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However at one point in our lives we’ve all purchased a skirt in a moment of panic, distress or discomfort.

There’s an intricate marketing plan engineered for these moments of stress where we reach for the proverbial biscuit tin.  And they’ve found the perfect vessel; our own friends – to plant to seed.

This is not going to change; we just have to get smarter.  We have to learn to become discerning consumers of media.

How is this possible? Don’t share images, articles or news items with anyone that questions a woman’s intelligence.

The kind of article that assumes that if a woman is not savvy enough to approach Mr Google if she needs cellulite treatment.

Question women’s “self-help” articles: am I being targeted for a sale?  Who really benefits from this information?

Make journalists accountable.  Tell these women who write disempowering articles: Hey, I know you’re trying to sell me razors by insinuating that I’m a cavewoman, but I am not buying it (literally and metaphorically).

Boycott websites and magazines that exploit women in this way.  When you see something that isn’t right: say it out loud.

Even though it’s by no means the standard; women need to stick up for one another.  Tweet it, comment – start that discussion.

Before you make a purchase, ask yourself: what feeling am I trying to cultivate by this transaction?

New heels for a job interview is one thing; the $680 Louboutins you cannot afford (as suggested by Neurotic You Weekly) is simply not okay.

Finally, rehearse the internal monologue: it’s not me, it’s the jeans, and encourage your girlfriends to do the same.

 Anna James is a travelling freelance journalist who has asked the hard questions at Entrepreneur.com, xoJane, Thought Catalog, Woman’s DayFilmInk MagazineMLB.com and Fox Sports.  When Anna is not writing, she’s Tweeting @missannajames.  Or talking about herself in third person on the internet. Visit her website here.

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