Body Inclusive, Sex Positive and Shifting the Culture Towards Unapologetic Self Love
How culture drives the beauty standard by feeding into our need to be desired. If you’ve lived through more than a few decades then you already know that beauty standards are built off trends that come and go.
In 2020 the Kardashians are in. Big booties and boobs, tiny waists and full lips.
But this hasn’t always been the case. Who can forget Rachel Zoe bringing in the oversized clothes on the ultra skinny look. Made famous by superstar clients, Nicole Richie, Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton to name a few…
Before that we had heroine chic by Kate Moss. Soft, curvy and demure, Marilyn Monroe. You get what I’m saying. Every decade has brought us a different body type to aspire to.
So if the “in” body type keeps changing and we’re clearly not super-powered shape shifters then why do we place these expectations on ourselves to conform?
The problem is not necessarily in the body types themselves, but rather the deep feelings of insecurity that women who don’t fit into these trends tend to suffer from. We all want to be “living our best lives” and when the women who seem to be doing just that all look a certain way; it leads us to subconsciously want to look the same.
This plays into so many primitive belief systems that have been around since ancient times.
The need for status, to fit in, to be desired.
Ideally every woman on planet Earth would attend copious amounts of therapy to reprogram her brain and eventually come to the mindset on her own where she no longer needs nor desires external validation from our society on her appearance.
This is not an easy place to come to. A lifetime of programming from the hundreds of marketing messages consumed daily has taught us otherwise. If marketing and media are responsible for the problem, then shouldn’t they also play a part in the solution?
It’s Time to Shift the Culture
I have been in marketing for over 10 years and I know this. The smart companies are trying to become a part of the culture and the really smart companies are trying to change the culture.
That’s why big brands spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads, and it’s why they sponsor the MTV awards. It’s not because they expect an immediate return on ad spend. It’s because they want to be a part of our lives; they want to infiltrate our culture and start new trends. They’re playing the long game.
These powers can be used for good or for evil.
Showing only one body type as desirable in the media makes all the other women who don’t fit the mold feel like they’re not enough. It also helps to maximize profits. When you don’t feel good about yourself you’re looking for a solution, or the right product to make you feel better.
How can companies sell stuff without telling their target audience they aren’t enough?
The essence of marketing is selling an after state, where the consumer can see what success looks like with their product and how their problem has been remedied.
No matter what you may think that problem is, it will ultimately boil down to somewhere within our hierarchy of needs.
For beauty companies those consumer needs are psychological, to feel belonging, love and self esteem. Marketers know this and have used it against consumers.
So here’s the million dollar question I’ve had to ask myself. How can Bia be successful without harming our customer’s body image and self esteem?
We’ve done so by keeping the following sets of beliefs in mind when developing our products, marketing content and messaging:
- The definition of our culture’s standard of beauty is subjective, we’re art and there is no one size fits all beauty type.
- Wanting to look and feel attractive or desirable does not make you shallow, unintelligent or wrong.
- Nudity does not equal sexuality; we have the right to love, honour, take care of and enjoy our bodies.
- The media and beauty industry owe it to our next generation of girls to show them that beauty comes in many different forms.
- We have the responsibility to teach our next generation that their bodies are their own, and theirs is the only opinion on it that should matter.
- The images we use in the media are what define our standards of beauty thus the importance of inclusivity.
- What makes a company powerful is its ability to shape and shift culture.
We are a small company but we have lofty goals, our growth will only amplify our voices. The “beauty” of starting small is that we have the ability to use our voice without restrictions, or without having to worry about the effects of different stakeholders.
If emboldened feminism, nudity or sexual confidence is found to be offensive by some, we can’t worry about that… Those people aren’t ready for our message, but there are a huge group of women who are ready – and that’s who we’re talking to.