I mentioned before that I have a lot of time on my hands lately, so I watch a bit of TV. This means that I get to see a lot of commercials whether I want to or not. I’ve been trying to get up and walk around during the commercials, but that doesn’t always happen.
Now I know that commercials have one goal in life, and that is to sell us a product or service. I learned that way back in high school where one of my teacher’s main purpose was to teach his students how to not be suckers. I’ve long for forgotten his name, but his lessons have stuck with me. And he taught us that the purpose and language of commercials serve to create problems where none exist and make the consumers want or need something they had no need for before the commercials. Lesson learned and never forgotten. Thank you, unnamed teacher. I am ever grateful to you.
So, now that I get to watch loads of TV when I’m too tired to do anything but sit and attempt to breathe for an hour or so, I ask these questions:
When did having teeth so white they can light your way in the dark become the norm? I remember as a child, the purpose of toothpaste was to clean your teeth, not make them sparkle and shine. Suddenly I turn around and everyone wants to bleach their teeth to an unnatural white. We’re not supposed to have white teeth, it’s not normal or natural. Hell, even the so-called “natural” toothpastes are claiming to be able to whiten your smile. It’s just weird.
Also, when did having body hair become undesirable? I don’t remember getting that memo. Growing up in the seventies, I remember women flat out refusing to cave into the patriarchy and tossing out their razors. I remember a line from a TV sitcom back then that said something along the lines of: “The last time I saw that little hair on a man’s chest, I was at a Boy Scout’s meeting.” or something… It was an insult. Manly men had hairy chests. Real men had hairy bodies (sarcasm). Now it’s somehow gross for men to have hair anywhere? Except on their head of course. When did this happen? How did this happen? Where was I when this happened?
I don’t live in a cave, I promise you that, but I didn’t see this happening. However, whenever I watch commercials, I see it. Women removing all the hair from their bodies. Men removing all the hair from their bodies. It’s just somehow not okay to have hair on your body. I don’t understand this. We’re born with hair, yanno. But I suppose there are just some things I’ll never understand. Me and my hubby, we don’t worry about how much hair the world thinks we should have on our bodies and act accordingly. I’ll just leave it at that. ^_^
And another thing… when did it become a social taboo to be ill in this world? I want to know the genius who came up with that so I can punch him/her in the throat. No. I’m serious about that. It’s bad enough to come down with an illness that you have no control over, but to be shunned for it, that’s just… oh! I see red every time a commercial comes on that blames a person for having allergies (Do you clear a room with your sneezes?), pooh-poohs someone for having hearing difficulties (Do you bother other people when you watch the television or listen to the radio?), or ridicules a poor soul for their chronic illness (I’m just tired of putting my own needs before my daughter’s). Fuck you, ad executive! Fuck you very much! Sorry for the language, but You — person behind these ads — are a part of the problem. You add to the stigma that people with chronic illnesses are lazy, that we’re just not trying, that we could be in control of our illnesses if we just did this thing or took that medicine. So fuck you with your blaming ads and fingerpointing.
Yes, I know the ads are trying to sell medication, but there has to be another way. Believe me, I’ve talked to my doctor about plenty of medications. If I have a certain disorder, they’ve probably heard of the medication on the commercial. I refuse to feel guilty for being sick. I refuse to feel guilty for not being able to control my body. I refuse to feel guilty for things that are out of my control. I am not “sorry” for not being able to do the things I could do even a year ago. I would LOVE to be able to do the things I could do even a year ago. I would give anything to do the things I could do five years ago. It ain’t gonna happen, and all the guilt in the world won’t change that. Do these ad execs think I like being ill? Do they think they’re helping?
Sorry for the rant. Those commercials make me see red.
One last thing that makes me not only wonder, but giggle as well. Though I guess it’s not too funny. The last memo I got was that we’re supposed to be leaning towards a green planet, but companies like P&G are doing everything they can to sell products that just fill up the landfills by playing on people’s fear of, and this part makes me giggle, bacteria. Sad. Just sad. Think about it. They sell disposable products because anything that can be washed must be full of *gasp!* bacteria! (dun! dun! dun!) However! disposable products (I’m looking a you, Swiffer and the like) “trap” the bacteria and can just be thrown away. Of course, that means all that bacteria is now in your trash bin, then all concentrated in the landfills, but who cares about that? Also, does anyone consider that having some of that bacteria around might be, I dunno… good? I mean, if we kill off all of the bacteria then how will we be able to fight it when it shows up? Isn’t that why the smallpox virus wiped out the Native Americans so quickly? No natural immunity? I could be blowing smoke because I’m not a doctor, or a biologist, or anything scientific-y like that, but it seems logical to me.
And even if we disregard the whole germ side of things, what about filling up the landfills? That’s a whole lot of trash going on there. It makes me giggle when I see a commercial for trash bags that implore to use one less trashbag a week to keep them out of the landfill followed by a commercial invoking us to use paper towels rather than dishcloths to clean up messes in the kitchen because dishcloths might carry bacteria. What message should we follow?
I guess, as always, go with your gut. Me? I learned in high school not to listen to commercials, or should I say to listen to commercials. What they say, and the way they say it speaks volumes. Or, as the current meme goes: