By Jeff Girod
Banned in Britain: An ad for anti-wrinkle cream featuring actress Rachel Weisz has been outlawed in the United Kingdom after complaints that the photo was “misleading.”
In the ad to promote L’Oréal’s Revitalift Clinical Repair 10, Weisz’s face “had been altered in a way that substantially changed her complexion to make it appear smoother and more even,” according to something called the Advertising Standards Authority.
Substantially changed? Smoother and more even? Isn’t that the point of ads for skin cream? No wonder everyone in England looks like Prince Charles.
Weisz joins Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington, who have also had makeup ads banned in Britain because, as actresses and models, they are much splotchier and raccoon-faced in real life.
Commercials are supposed to lie to us. The reality is every toothpaste, razor and shampoo is exactly like every other one. All hair gel does remarkably the same thing as every other bottle of pink gelatinous goop.
Advertising is about lying. I’m 40-percent certain I’m 80-percent lying to you right now. It’s all about narrative and fantasy. And hopefully you’re adult enough to realize you’re being taken for a ride whenever you watch a TV commercial. Call it a mini 30-second siesta from the pathetic doldrums of living.
So, of course, a jpeg of Rachel Weisz is going to be digitally retouched. Grow up. This isn’t yearbook class. Every photo in every magazine has been manipulated by a computer—unless of course you’re a subscriber to Greasy Forehead, Double Chin or Yellow-Tooth Illustrated. (Don’t miss their cottage cheese, varicose thigh swimsuit issue!)
The sad truth is people are ugly—especially the beautiful ones. The best of us start to wear down: sun damage, cellulite, crow’s feet, gingivitis. Live long enough and something’s bound to give out on you (or start sprouting out of you).
Mileage adds up. Even Cindy Crawford is searching for Photoshop’s magic wand to subtract about 10 years and 15 pounds off of her turkey neck and sagging butt. And what’s wrong with wanting to put your best red-eye reduced face forward?
If you went to a job interview, would you wear the same tank top and jean short cutoffs you put on every day, or would dress in something nicer? Of course you would try to make a better impression. And after you got the job, nobody would expect you to show up to work every day in a three-piece suit looking like the maître d’.
Do I think actresses like Rachel Weisz are unattractive? That all depends. Is this a home or away game? If I saw Weisz on TV, I’d probably say she’s starting to lose her sex appeal. If I saw her at Ralphs, I’d probably offer her my house and try to mount her on the cantaloupes.
Sure, Rachel Weisz is attractive in real life. But this isn’t real life, sunshine. The stakes are higher. As a spokesmodel, her face is plastered on billboards and across Winnebago-sized high-def LEDs. Every pore, every crevasse is scrutinized. L’Oréal’s only fault was getting caught—or choosing a 42-year-old instead of two 21-year-olds.
Real life is full of flaws and bitter disappointment, zits and in-grown hairs. Nobody wants to be reminded of stretch marks and backne when they’re being marketed as the next latest and greatest fad. The world is full of old, fat and ugly people. If you want to look like one, get in line. You can be poor and un-famous just like the rest of us.
Is drinking the “right” beer or using the “right” eyeliner going to make you rich, young and successful? What do you think? But commercials are fun to watch. And sexy people with their sexy parts are fun to gawk at—even if everything about advertising is just an illusion.
And maybe you believe all this sends the wrong message to our youth. Then again, childhood obesity is rampant in the United States. So maybe you should go outside and play catch with your kids instead of letting them watch so much TV or read trashy magazines.
Or better yet, just smear some skin cream on your face. There . . . now doesn’t that feel good?
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org.