Advertisers are slowly moving away from the angle of ‘You have lots of faults, but our product will help to fix them’. Which is positive, because the core concept of anti-cellulite cream and anti-wrinkle creams are quite literally profiting on making faults out of what natural happens to our bodies… but I digress, that’s a slightly different discussion for a different day. But, if advertisers aren’t pointing out what’s wrong with us so we buy their stuff to fix it, then they’ve got to pick a different lane. A lane which necessities us to still spend our money on their ‘stuff’.
In the current dawn of self-empowerment, self -love and self-acceptance, in response to the shit show of headlines, revelations and presidents which have been thrown upon us, advertisers are keeping up with the times, in doing so they’ve latched onto Self-Care as their mission statement. On the surface this appears empowering and inclusive, but obviously it’s advertising so let’s delve a little deeper.
The Oxford Dictionary defines Self-Care as:
1 The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
‘autonomy in Self-Care and insulin administration’
1.1 The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
‘Taking action to preserve of improve one’s own health’ is different for everybody, but as that age old saying goes, money can’t buy you happiness. Money can buy you somewhere to live, food and a sense of security, but it can’t actually buy you contentment – in the same way that we can’t buy Self-Care. So why are we being flogged moisturisers and soaps and supplements and Argan Oil Conditioners in the name of Self-Care? These items can be an accessory to looking after ourselves, but singularly, they’re not the solution. Self-Care is about taking care of ourselves, getting enough sleep, staying healthy and being compassionate and kind to ourselves, the way we would to others.
Advertisers are using Self-Care as their mission statement and in turn the notion of Self-Care is being commoditised as the answer to our problems – ‘Buy this face cream and all of your spots will disappear and then you’ll be happy’, or ‘Treat yourself to the jeans that you wanted, you deserve it’. Material items might make us happy when we buy them, or cheer us up when we wear them, but it’s an anti-climax because it’s an empty promise. I’m not saying we shouldn’t buy ourselves things we want with the money we have earned, but if we’re seeking out solace from a product, then we’re ignoring the very concept of Self-Care which is to ‘preserve or improve one’s own health’, if this is something which can be bought then we’ll be in a rat race of throwing good money after bad, to buy something which can’t be bought.
Of course, I understand that this is advertising, and adverts are supposed to make us want to buy things, but this is all a little familiar in a Black Mirror kind of way.