More on the body – does my pikacho stink?

As Oniontears and Adriana have remarked, social norms have eased up over the past few decades. I’m sure this has much to do with feminism and the Women’s Movement(s) — specifically Title IX which mandated that schools provide equal access to sports and athletics to girls/women. When I was a child, I wasn’t allowed on the soccer team cuz I was a girl. Now, it seems like some type of sport is considered healthy and normal for girls (which I think is good). Of course women DO sweat. And we need products!

Oniontears went through so many brands of deodorant looking for one that smelled right. Personally, I have not used deodorant since I was in Jr. High school. I use perfume on occasion (when I remember, my favorite is Shalimar — very old school). I prefer that men NOT use deodorant or cologne, but can put up with it. I like the way people smell (and there’s evidence that smell is an important factor in mate selection). I bathe nearly everyday (abstaining only when staying at home all day) so I don’t feel a need to cover up my body’s odor. Mr. Man REALLY abstains from bathing (like any good hippie) — he sees it as his part in reducing his impact on the earth (actually, he just doesn’t like to bathe). Fortunately for me, it takes quite a while for him to become so rank that I have to insist that he shower. His favorite cologne is Old Spice! This is so retro it is cool!

So where is this going? I guess back to the point where consumerism, gender difference, and the body intersect. Marketing campaigns have convinced us that we stink. There are products to mask the natural odors of our skin, hair, breath, arm pits, and even our “pikachos” (to quote Chelsea Handler). We are are constantly encouraged to turn our gaze to our bodies to ensure that we are projecting the right message to the right people. I do like to shop, but I also realize that I am being manipulated into DESIRING. Advertisers not only want us to buy specific products, but they want to create in us a strong sense of desire. This directed desire is illusory much like that created by pornography (just for the record, I’m not against erotic material). Through the barrage of media, we form desires and we come to believe that these desires can be met by consuming. We have been transformed from people into consumers. As consumers we become data points in demographic studies to be used to cater to and shape our desires. But these desires and the products aimed towards fulfilling those desires are not meant to make our lives “better.” Rather, the point is to purchase stuff to satiate our marketer created desires. Am I wearing the season’s new hot color (purple for fall 08)? Am I driving the right car (for my demographic, it’s the Cadillac SRS)? Am I using the right skin product (Botox or Rejuviderm)? The products themselves, of course, will not actually fill the voids I feel. Will I attract friends and lovers? Will my status be promoted and displayed? Will I be able to put my “best face” forward? Products cannot fulfill us. The big web of lies contained within advertising, however, keeps us perpetually trapped. I LOVE TO SHOP. I have, however, cut way back on the amount of advertising I was consuming before. I have only one magazine script, Mother Earth News (but don’t believe that it’s not filled with ads also. I nearly plunked out $300 for a compostor until I realized I could make one with hog wire sitting in the back yard). My biggest fear is becoming a grotesque imitation of Edwina (AbFab) — the boozy, dumpy, muffin topped, and superficial consumer of every new fad (including Zen Buddhism).

Yikes! I fit some of the descriptors!!! (I once even threatened my daughter that I was going to adopt a Romanian orphan! LOL). [For the record, I stopped smoking almost 2 years ago].

These are just my musings for the day as I sip my coffee. Hope your day is AbFab!

2 Responses to “More on the body – does my pikacho stink?”

  1. oniontears Says:

    Interesting post and almost every sentence could be branched out into more in-depth ponderings since the body is so interesting in general. I think that many people do feel pressure to change their bodies because of ads, celebrities, and how people around us will percieve us. That’s why I’m happy I don’t have cable since I don’t have to see those ads and can wear the wrong colors every season! haha

    And it’s interesting because I personally feel embarrassed of my appearance and body odor in certain areas such as Trader Joes (when I was still shopping there) and petsmart. I think that is because most people don’t bike there so I was concerned that they would think I’m sweaty and smelly for no reason. And that just goes to show that even though I’m a bit of a snob because I consider myself more eco-friendly, I still don’t want to offend people with my sweat. But when I go to my local market I don’t care if other shoppers are grossed out because I know the workers and they see me ride my bike so I feel like my sweaty body has earned the right to be smelly as well.

    Personally, I have to shower everday because my hair and skin gets so greasy that I creeps me out. And I can’t even switch to products that are less moisturizing because our water is so hard that my skin and hair starts cracking.

    Anyway, I totally agree that most of these products are sold under ‘desire’. Like dove soap…I like it as much as anyone because it has a nice lather but I don’t imagine myself as having milk-white skin afterwards with no blemishes (at least those are the commercials I’ve seen). I don’t like using it because I actually don’t feel clean afterwards. I like buying this local soap that has oatmeal in it so it cleans me while also making sure old skin comes off….hmm maybe I’ve gone into too much detail….so I’m going to end here and apologize for all the typos I probably made. But great post and I can’t wait to read some more posts!

  2. I understand the whole consumerism thing. It pains me to see people in the malls when the economy is so crappy right now. What could they possibly be buying?

    I prefer soaps and deodorants from the health food store. So much of the drug store stuff is loaded with chemicals.

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