Advertising 101

Advertising In The New World.


Advertising in the fashion industry is worth billions in revenue and in quarterly returns. Comprised as establishing beauty norms, it also “encourages us to adopt the standards created by various industries” (Shaw, 188).   However, these standards are often times unrealistic and bring toxic effects on how we compare our own bodies to others; making us highly judgmental on the way we look and perceive beauty.

After visiting several retail stores in WEM, a consistent exemplar for beauty was always present, such criteria’s are :

White : In other words, if you ain’t white, then you ain’t right.

To be fair skinned has always been one pre-requisite to be considered being beautiful in the fashion world. This internalized message also ignores other minorities to an effect, as they exclude diversity from their advertisement campaigns and banners. Hence, this racist connotation towards beauty also serves to impose and control the white hegemonic culture in the western world.

Skinny: To be thin, puts you on a higher scale. The more thin you are, the higher chances you have to be socially accepted and admired.


Sexualized youthful glamour: Most of the retail ads all portrayed youthfulness as a premise for beauty. Most of the implicit messages expressed in the ads were all in terms of idealized perfections fabricated by men who are motivated by corporate profits.

Moreover, coupled with the billion dollar anesthetic surgery industry, and various numerous forms cosmeceutical ads that we see on TV and in our shopping malls, we as women” are more likely to get face-lifts, eye tucks, rhinoplasties, collagen injections, botox, liposuctions, tummy tucks, and of course, breast augmentation”( Shaw,193).  As a result, we are not only putting our own health’s at risk by being more vulnerable to potential bacterial infection after post-comeceutical-surgeries, we are also adopting hazardous beauty expectations that are unfortunately impractical, let alone impossible to achieve.


It is important to note, that it is the “ disciplinary beauty practices” that Shaw mentions to be a systematic practice that most women engage in. By also being a benchmark for achieving the admired adjusted look, these practices also serve as being regulatory ” because they involve social control in the sense that we spend time, money and effort, [as we also evoke] meaning in these practices “– governing habits, that could cause more harm than good to the person, if they aren’t accurately assessed and balanced ( Shaw, 193).

My Opinion

In all honesty, after visiting these stores, I don’t really feel affected or personally lesser than the average skinny white girl that happens to be on the podium of most retail stores. By being East African, and somewhat medium size, I am comfortable in my own skin. I am not pressured to achieve the glamorized ideal of perfected beauty of habitually wearing makeup due to my daily ablutions; muslims are required to perform ablutions before their prayers 5 times a day as a means for self-purifications. In the same token, what must be accepted is the recognition of internal beauty instead of the outer. The tainted construction of beauty in these advertising ads are subjective standards, fixated to meet unrealistic norms.

On that note,

Ladies, Don’t be fooled.

Ayan Affi.

Work Cited :

Shaw, Susan M., and Janet Lee. “The “Beauty” Ideal.” Women’s Voices, Feminist Visions: Classic and Contemporary Readings. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012; 188-195. Print.


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