Women have always been an easy target for advertisers. They exploit a woman's confidence, convincing her she's not as good as she can be. Their product is the answer. They'll make you physically beautiful as long as you go by their limited standards of beauty. It will always be this way. We just have to teach kids not to believe any of it. To not be such happy little consumers being molded by corporations. Probably going to be hard to do when corporations control so much of our lives and are now legally considered a "person" by the Supreme Court.
The worst aspect of advertising has always played off of a woman's self-image. We're never good enough.
Look at what plastic surgery has done to some once beautiful women. They were somehow convinced that what they saw staring back in the mirror wasn't what society said was beautiful. And so they trotted off to a plastic surgeon or one of the Botox centers and became freakish images of themselves. Their faces molded by someone else. All you have to do is look at someone like Pricilla Presley who has gone from beautiful to unsightly. What she did to her face is a tragedy, no matter if the doctor she chose was a quack. She still bought into the lies.
Here are two ads from the April 1949 Photoplay magazine. Both stunningly scary.
At first glance the ads look funny, but think about the women who looked through Photoplay each month, admiring the stars who seemingly lived wonderful lives, then to come to the back pages and see ads like this. What did they see when they looked in the mirror? The Betty Grable on the cover or the drawing of the woman in the ad?
I can't help but think of the movie Sayonarra with Miyoshi Umeki playing a Japanese woman who wanted to turn her Asian eyes into Western eyes because that was perceived as more beautiful. Of course it was all lies, but that's what advertising is based on. Half-truths and blatant lies. Always has been, always will be. Create a want or a need where there is none.