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Cultural Jam of Aging
Miranda E. Lambert
UBC GRSJ 300 98A
I chose to Jam this ad because I believe that society has a strong tendency to not only disvalue aging, but to degrade and fear the process of aging. The ad I chose states that “It’s time to say goodbye to aging skin,” which implies that aging skin is something that doesn’t belong and should be eradicated. Going on, the skincare ad informs that there is no painful injection, expensive lasers, or invasive surgery; these statements highlight the extents that people go to in order to appear younger. The ad features a woman looking familiar to kid-toy Barbie, with tight, smooth, and clearly air-brushed skin. She appears to have less-aged skin than that of even a child, with no smile lines, eye lines, or even pores. Not only does this represent unrealistic results of using the advertised product, but it presents a high, unrealistic, and truly unachievable standard for women to be expected to reach.
It is disheartening to me that women are being held to standards that are impossible to achieve. It further saddens me that the process of living a full life and having the proof of that via wrinkles, smile lines, etc. is seen as undesirable. In addition, society has an obsession with productivity; and appearing as elderly is often paired with appearing as unproductive, or even useless. This is a huge problem, as the older people in our society have minds, experience, and thoughts that are valuable. In fact, there are many ways in which older people are more apt and knowledgeable in different areas. I also find it interesting how our society sees aging as being such a negative process despite the fact that we are all prone to aging in our lives. I hope to address the negative attitudes toward aging that our society has in my cultural jam, and to increase the value of age and experience in our society.
3. Jammed Advertisement
4. Philosophy Behind Jam
The first change I made in the add was to change the word ‘goodbye’ to ‘hello.’ My philosophy behind this is to develop an attitude that is not only tolerant of aging, but that sees the value of it, and has a positive regard towards it. I then replaced the ‘benefits’ of the skincare product with some facts about aging. I made a statement about the natural process of aging, with the hope to remind consumers of how we all, no matter who we are, go through the process of aging. I also stated that society has unrealistic standards; magazines, social media, and other forms of media frequently present us with images of women who appear to be perfect, such as the woman in the original ad. It can be so easy to fall into the industry’s trap of wanting to look like these women and buying companies’ products in attempt to achieve that look. My final statement was ‘embrace your experience.’ This can carry many meanings, depending on the consumer. My thought behind this was for people to see wrinkles and lines as proof of the life they have lived, and to see beauty and richness in this. I find it incredible that we, as humans, live through so much, and I want for our experiences to be valued. Whether it be smile lines defining a happy life or worry lines that prove the difficulties that someone has endured, our experiences are a rich part of who we are. Lastly, I changed the image of the airbrushed woman to be one of a smiling older woman, to show the joy that can still be had in older age. My philosophy behind this is to alter the perception of society that being older, or appearing older, is associated with a loss of happiness. Overall, my hope for this jam is for older women to feel more confident, and even proud, of their aging skin; and of the stories and wisdom behind their wrinkles.