Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fair and Lovely, Daniel Craig's Moobs, and Spray on Tans

A few weeks ago, as I was drifting off to sleep with the E! channel on (it works better than a sleeping pill), I managed to catch a a few minutes of a re-run of a some stupid show - I think it was called-E!'s list of the Best and Worst Beach Bodies - and Daniel Craig (the New James Bond) was named as one of the best. They showed images of him from that first 007 movie he was in, coming out of the water, all bronzed and golden in his little swimming costume. I remember there was a lot of Media hype about him being the "best" James Bond yet, and the "sexiest" one. I did see that movie, and I do have to say that the Man certainly is well built.

So, even more recently, I was flipping through the pages of a lifestyle magazine, while waiting for my manicure, and I saw a recent list of the Best and Worst beach bodies, with photographs. And lo and behold, there was Daniel Craig again, but this time he was on the "worst" side. OK, no big deal, we all have our ups and downs, right? But what surprised me about this was, that at least in the picture they showed to illustrate his "terrible physique" his actual body (as in muscle tone, washboard abs, etc.) was no worse than it was when he filmed James Bond. He looked as fit as ever, but because it seems he cant be bothered to continue the spray tanning when he is not filming a Bond movie and is now white as a ghost(for God's sake he is British after all! - if they aren't lily white then they are usually bright pink) then suddenly, just because he dared to sport his true skin color, his amazing pectoral muscles that they had raved about had somehow morphed into "Moobs.*" How dare he offend the mighty cosmetic giants by preferring his natural skin tone to the fake orange ones they sell by the bottle?!! He must be put in his place!!! I mean he is a movie star, people look up to such figures, if he starts giving people the idea that maybe they are fine just the way they are, God knows what chaos could ensue! What kind of example is he setting???!!!

The insanity of it really struck me, and I got to thinking about how ridiculous, vicious, two-faced and self serving the media and the corporations that feed it are. It is clear the Media must have close ties with Cosmetic giants... because they are the only ones who profit from all this obsessing about skin tone and hair color and blah blah blah. Really you have to sort of admire them... How did they manage to simultaneously convince dark skinned women that being lighter is ideal (so they will buy expensive whitening products) and light skinned women that they need to be darker (so they will buy expensive tanning products)?

There is a reason that supermodels are 6ft tall, emaciated, with tanned skin and (blond) hair extensions... and it isn't because they are the "best looking" people on earth. It is because it is an impossible look for the average woman to achieve naturally. A very small percentage of the female human population is over 5 ft 6, (forget 6 ft), and the taller you are, the easier it is to be long and lean looking. For the average dark-haired 5 ft 3 inch woman, appearing long and lean and blond entails, dieting, wearing high heels that torture the feet, and dyeing her hair and using products to boost its fullness. If she happens to be naturally blond, then most likely she is very pale skinned and will need to "tan" as well. All of this means a considerable investment in fashion and beauty products, all of which are created to make you feel like you aren't quite good enough, but maybe you could ALMOST be perfect if you just buy them. A model should be something that you can realistically look up to and aspire to be; how insane is it that the "Model" women are something no one really can be - even the models themselves because the images we see of them are so airbrushed they don't represent reality anyway.

What is even more insulting is that the media, cosmetic giants and fashion houses actually pretend that they are "helping" women. How?

Has anyone noticed that the tanning craze is bigger than it ever was, even bigger than back when we thought it was OK to spend 18 hours in the Sun with no protection? Does this make any sense? Well it does to a cosmetic company.

Logically, once it was discovered that tanning was a primary reason for skin cancer and premature aging, this craze should have died out, I mean who really wants to have their nose fall off and look like an old leather bag at the age of 45? And if Cosmetic companies had stopped promoting this "unhealthy image" it surely would have faded in popularity. But why should they stop when they have even more to gain now... Back in the suntanning days, they used to make money off of their tanning oils and women had to buy varying shades of foundation to fit them at their darker and lighter stages, but that was about it. NOW they have hit pay dirt! They keep on promoting "tan" as the ideal for white women, even though the act of sun tanning is dangerous and ages the skin. I guess they figure it is a win win situation for them. If someone decides to tan the good old fashioned way, then they will still buy their tanning lotions, oils or mild sunblocks to do it more gradually and safely AND they will also prematurely be in dire need of their SUPER expensive anti-aging products and processes; while if they choose to go the safe route to achieve golden perfection, then they must constantly fork out a tidy sum to keep their fake tans looking real.

And they do the same thing to dark skinned women, only in reverse. They try to convince them that, if only they were lighter skinned, then the whole world would be at their feet. That as long as they stick to the skin shade they were born with, they will never amount to much, never truly be "beautiful." They also try to convince them that the only way to be truly feminine is to have long silky shiny locks of hair to toss around. Now, a lot of dark skinned people - especially those of African descent, have great skin - it doesn't age as fast as lighter skin. But the Cosmetic companies have still managed to convince them that they need their products - the sunblocks (so they don't get any darker) and the whitening products, which are bad for their skin, and the foundation (even if they have smooth flawless skin) - to make themselves look just a bit lighter. Conveniently,for the cosmetic companies that is, because of the whitening products and makeup, they will also need anti-aging creams when they are older.

I am reminded of a couple of commercials for Fair and Lovely that I saw repeatedly on local Kenyan TV Stations when I was staying in Nairobi. There was more than one commercial, but they all were basically the same. They would show something like a girl looking all scruffy and plain (no make up), boring clothes, who keeps getting turned down for job interviews or passed over for something, but then she starts using fair and lovely and, suddenly, all is right with the world, and she is transformed from a dark loser into a "fair and lovely" winner, who is now several shades lighter, wears makeup and is all glammed up. She then gets the job or the man or whatever it is she wanted, and her parents are proud of her - talk about bull sh**!!! I have seen Fair and Lovely Commercials here in the UAE too. These are targeting the Indian and Arab population, but the message is still the same "you aren't good enough"

There are so many incredibly beautiful, but real looking, women of all different shapes and sizes and colors; but you don't see them being praised, because the last thing the media / cosmetics / fashion industry triumvirate wants is for women to realize they are perfect just the way God made them.

By the way, the same magazine that ridiculed Daniel Craig's pastier version of himself went on to rave about the look of some up-and-coming young actress whose legs are so skinny her knees closely resemble round balls connecting two tooth picks. So, the lesson to be learned from that magazine is that being in perfect physical condition just isn't enough if you are a very white man, and looking like a concentration camp inmate that someone spray painted orange is something all women should strive for...

*for those who don't know... moobs = man boobs


Anonymous said...


A nice article! Why dont you write for some woman's magazine???!

desertmonsoon said...

Ah, I would love to have a job writing or doing something creative... But I thought they only give such jobs to people with credentials - in journalism or something like that.

Anonymous said...

assalamualakum sis
this is sooo tru bout the colour thing
ii was alkin bout it with my m8s , n i was lyk y is it that white ppl wanna tan themselves, but paki girls eg.my aunts lol on their weddings they put on white foundation n it looks soo wrong cuz there hands are like a bit tanned and there face r white lol

desertmonsoon said...

wa aleikum salam hal :)

I know all to well about Pakistanis and their obsession with fairness. My sister in law asked me to bring her foundation from Dubai. So stupid me, I went and asked the shop keeper who was lightbrown - about the color of my sister in law for a foundation her color. My SIL was not happy with what I brought. She told me she wanted IVORY color, I told her, but Ivory is for the whitest white people and you are supposed to match your skin color not change it with foundation. That made her even more mad because I was basically telling her she isn't "fair". But I don't think being white is some great blessing, so I didn't mean it badly.