We’ve heard fashion magazines, celebrities and advertising all contribute to unrealistic self body image in young women. However, I love fashion magazines, keep up with all the latest celebrity gossip and work in the field of marketing and advertising. In theory, I should be the LAST person to discredit any of those interests. But today, an ad in Redbook stopped me in my tracks. Actually my friend Ally, who was reading the magazine while sitting next to me, held up an advertisement and asked me what she was looking at.
“What is this?” she asked.
“What do you mean? I said looking at what clearly was an ad for Suave.
“I mean this lady. What is she holding?” Ally pointed to the picture.
I looked carefully.
“ I think she’s holding her leg,” I responded. “Like this…” I got up to demonstrate.
“That can’t be her leg,” said Ally looking at ad again. “Her knee is all the way up to her collar bone. Not only that but she has no butt where her hip would connect to that leg she’s holding. It’s like a prosthetic leg.”
The leg was rather thin and her torso was so long. It looked as if she was standing but holding a leg that didn’t belong to her. It reminded me of when I was little. I’d try to do really flexible things with my Barbie dolls. Ultimately, their leg would snap off, my mom would duct tape it back on and then they’d literally have the ability to bend in half like a contortionist.
“Maybe it’s a shoulder of someone,” I suggested. “Or, could it be a man across from her wrapping his leg around her abdomen?” I wondered if it was intended to be sort of sexual.
“The leg doesn’t have hair like a man’s would.” Ally added, “Someone at this ad agency made a mistake. They retouched the ass and hips right off this women.”
“They may have even elongated her torso,” I agreed. “It continues all the way down the page!”
Then, a friend of ours entered the room. We asked her to take a look at the ad.
“She’s holding someone,” said our other friend.
Ally and I began laughing. “Holding someone?!” What did that mean?
“Like her son…I don’t know,” our friend said sarcastically.
We decided to put this ad to the test. It was sort of a Myth Busters type of exercise—literally. I’m 5 foot 6 inches tall, about 125-28 lbs (depending on what I ate that day) and pretty flexible. So, I volunteered to replicate the pose—just to see if it was feasible without PhotoShop’s help. Ally took my picture. See for yourself. We played with different angles. You decide. Then look at the Suave ad again.
I think Suave and Redbook have gone beyond giving women an unrealistic body image in this ad but also an impossible one. Only a freak of nature could achieve this pose. Ironically, the product featured is Suave’s lotion line called “Naturals.”
I’ve taken the liberty of making the Suave ad more true to life. You’re welcome Redbook.
- Photoshop Of Horrors: Embrace Your Amputated Leg & Love It! [Badvertising] (jezebel.com)
- Suave Lavender and Vanilla Before Bed to Soothe My Soul Giveaway (scrapsofmygeeklife.com)
- Christina Aguilera Does ‘Redbook’ Magazine (pinkisthenewblog.com)