A daytime TV ad caught my eye recently. I’ve seen it a couple of times, and each time, it annoys me a bit more. It’s flogging a powder that, among other things, works as a skin-darkener/fake tan. Darken your skin without going into the sun! it promotes. A healthy tan without the risks!
A ‘healthy’ tan without the risks? That doesn’t make any sense. By now, it’s been established that tans aren’t healthy. Tanning the skin is just a “˜light burn’, and spending hours and hours in the sun is begging for cancer.
So instead, we define an unhealthy condition as ‘healthy-looking’, then look for safe ways to get the dangerous ‘healthy look’. Um, call me simplistic, but wouldn’t it be easier for everyone to just stick to their natural skin tones?
What really annoyed me is that these kinds of products get flogged during the day, which means they’re predominantly aimed at women. Yes, it’s promoting a relatively safe way to get a certain look but it’s also reinforcing the idea that being tanned is healthy and desirable. And maybe I’m over-reacting, but it seems to me that we’re promoting women to be tanned a whole lot more than men. It’s just another way for women to damage their bodies in the long-term in order to look good in the short-term.
My point? Women are polluting their bodies in the long-term by committing acts that supposedly make them look “˜healthy’ in the short-term, and ads like the one I’ve described are only encouraging them to embrace a tanned look – albeit a fake one. Yes, I realise there are plenty of men who do the same thing to their bodies for the same reason, but there seems to be an extra emphasis on a tanned look = a healthy body for women. I guess that’s just one more higher standard that women are expected to meet in order to look desirable.