What is make-up? Make-up is a product and a right of passage for young girls. At an early age children learn what make-up is, usually by watching their mothers apply it each morning. Some children may grow-up to learn the phrase, “I can’t leave the house without putting on my face” as heard from their mothers. What a strange comment to tell your children. According to Jean Kilbourne, who wrote the Killing Us Softly series, “Youth learn at a very early age that appearance is of utmost importance and that it is not acceptable to leave the home without looking your best.” As children grow older this stigma of appearance begins to embed itself within the child’s way of thinking and even acting because awareness of advertisements gets introduced and becomes mainstream as we grow older.
Advertisements affect everyone, from the very youngest to the very eldest. Are advertisements merely trying to get us to buy a certain product or is there “something” more to the ads we see everyday and everywhere? Kilbourne claims that “Advertisements sell not only products but also the look of youth. And they tell us who we are; who we should be, and provide women with the idea of what and ideal women should look like.” However, is you peeling back the layers of advertisements and view them through a microscope, one can learn that there is much more to advertisements than just “face” value. Advertisements today target a variety of consumers, however; make-up advertisements target women and adolescent girls. And these ads send a message that society values appearance, has a deeply rooted fear of aging, and values women who appear 10 years younger than their true age.
In analyzing three advertisements for make-up: Avon, Covergirl, and Maybelline, it is easy to come to the conclusion that American women are deeply concerned with the way they look. Everywhere you look; it is hard to avoid the make-up advertisements especially the ads that promote anti-aging. When looking at the models, mostly women, for these advertisements, I noticed that the women varied in age and race, however; all held a commonality – they all looked to be about 10 years younger than their true age.
The Avon advertisement, taken from my Avon Representative booklet, features Avon’s Anew skin care product line. The model, who is supposed to be in her 60’s because the product is for anti-aging targeting that age group, looks to be in her late 40’s. She maintains a “girlish” appearance and shows only slight wrinkles, which are around the eye area and the mouth. She has dark hair and a black top on so that the viewer’s focal point remains on her facial features. I also noticed that her make-up was flawless and her gaze was upon the viewer as if to say, “Look at my skin, you too can achieve this goal with this product.”
As an Avon Representative, I sell beauty and the look of vitality to women of all ages. Avon skin care products have been in the market for over a century. Their products are...