Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Hey babyface

Yesterday I was watching an advert for Maybelline Dream Creamy foundation. This is how it goes: 'Perfect looking skin? I want more.' What the WHAT? This is patent idiocy. What more could you want than perfection?  '100% baby-smooth-looking perfection', apparently. Hang on, let me get this straight: so it's not sufficient to aspire to the kind of perfect skin that very few women have anyway, now our aim must be to have the face of a baby? The kind of skin that, by definition, NO HUMAN, ADULT WOMAN CAN POSSIBLY HAVE? Well why don't you just shoot me now? If women buy into this ridiculous message, we are setting ourselves up for guaranteed misery.

100% Baby-Smooth with Dream Creamy

The very silly ad

Now I should say at this point that I haven't tried this foundation and it may be wonderful stuff for all I know. Neither am I saying that we shouldn't wear make-up (do you think I have gone MAD?).  No, what makes my blood boil are the idiotically unattainable standards against which we are encouraged to measure ourselves.

Even the gorgeous model with the 'miraculous' foundation doesn't meet these ideals: she has been airbrushed to within an inch of her life. But get this: SO HAS THE BABY. Yes, that's right, so unrealistic have our expectations become that not even a baby has 'baby-smooth-looking skin'.*

This reminds me of a BBC documentary I saw last year about baby models. Some cretinous picture editor was actually airbrushing the wrinkles off a baby. And - far more sickeningly - changing the skin colour to make a delicious olive-skinned infant more fair and rosy. Could somebody stop the world now, I'd like to get off please.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the interwebverse, Amy Merrick writes about the decor of Fantastic Mr Fox for her 'Living In' series on Design*Sponge. I fell in love with this film and its sets. If you haven't seen it yet, I suggest you do so at the first available opportunity.

* For critical theory fans, this is what French philosopher Jean Baudrillard called the 'simulacrum' or the 'hyperreal' - the image that is more 'real' than reality.


  1. I concur. I am actually rather fond of reality. Perhaps because you get to see it so rarely, I am particularly fond of women's skin first thing in the morning, before all the applications. It may not always look media 'perfect', but it does have an appealing natural freshness about it. As one who fundamentally dislikes artifice, I would rather celebrate the feminine epidermal reality than pay homage to the image.

  2. Vir Beatum, we celebrate along with you (just as long as we don't have to give up the slappage altogether...).