I mean, I saw the link for this post at the bottom of another post of mine (I was answering a comment) and then I saw the prompt and I was all, “I should update that, because I really do have questions.”
So, I mentioned before that I have a lot of time on my hands, and not by choice. Now I don’t watch as much television as I used to, mostly because commercials piss me off, but I do watch some, and I seriously wonder a few things. Now I know that commercials have one goal in life, and that is to sell a product or service. I had a teacher in high school whose main purpose was to teach his students not be suckers. I’ve long since forgotten his name, but his lessons have stuck with me. He taught us that the purpose and language of commercials was to create problems where none existed, and make the consumers want or need something they had no need of. Lesson learned and never forgotten. Thank you, unnamed teacher. I am ever grateful to you.
So, whenever I am too tired to do anything but stare at the idiot box, I get to watch stupid commercials. And I have questions, because seriously, I don’t understand.
When did having teeth so white they can light your way in the dark become the norm? I always thought that the purpose of toothpaste was to clean your teeth, not make them so white they bring ships in at night. Suddenly I turn around and everyone should want 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.
I mean, does no one ever notice that the people in the teeth whitening commercials (every single one of them) start out with white teeth? And the “whiteness” of their teeth doesn’t significantly change by the end of the commercial? Does anyone in ANY of those commercials look ugly or unattractive because of their “yellow” or “discolored” teeth? I don’t think so. Also, no one smiles like that unless they’re a werewolf and they’re about to eat you. No one. It’s a created problem, and I wish it would die a fiery death.
Here’s how much attention people don’t pay to your teeth. I had half of my front tooth missing for more than five years because I didn’t have any insurance. Half of my front tooth. I smiled, talked, laughed, and acted like a normal human being the entire time too, because I don’t give a rat’s ass what other people think about me and the way I look. No one commented on it. No one suggested I get it fixed. No one turned me down for a date in that entire five years that I had half of my front tooth missing. I even got married. When I finally got it fixed. I asked a friend of mine how it looked, and she said, “Oh, I hardly noticed… It looks good.”
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, you know. 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…
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?), shames someone for having back problems (are you missing out on life because you’re putting off back surgery?), 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 finger pointing.
Yes, I know the ads are trying to sell medication, or surgery, or whatever… But there has to be another way. Believe me, I have a plethora of chronic illnesses, and I’ve talked to my doctor(s) about plenty of medications, surgeries, and treatments. I don’t need some announcer on the television to try and shame me into asking my doctor about their latest and greatest treatment. If I have a certain disorder, they’ve probably heard of the medication on the commercial. That’s what pharmacy companies do… they go to the doctor’s offices and push their drugs. Look around and see all of the things with drug names on it, that means a pharmacy rep has been there. Then be very wary if your doctor recommends that drug. Ha! Anyway, 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 before. I would LOVE to be able to do the things I used to be able to do. 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 (or anyone else with chronic illnesses) like being ill? Do they think they’re helping?
Sorry for the rant. Those commercials make me see red.
I had a part here about disposable v reusable products and how commercials zone in on people’s tendency to be slightly germaphobic and squicky about all things bacteria related, but decided to cut it out of this rewrite. In the end, it’s really about balance. I myself don’t really care much about germs one way or another. I have a box of rags that I use for everyday purposes, plus a couple of sponges and we also use paper towels when the occasion calls for it. I read somewhere that there are people who go completely paperless — as in they use rags for wiping after they go to the bathroom. Hey, to each their own, but for me, that’s not my gig.
I guess, as always, go with your gut. Me? I dislike commercials. Oh there are some that are cute and some that are tear-jerking, but for the most part, they create problems that never were and tap into people’s insecurities in order to sell their product. What I don’t understand I suppose, is how easily people fall for them.