Woman are in a constant pression to contour their bodies in order to please the eyes of others
There is a kind of class distinction in sexual preferences. The darling of the working class is still curvy and chubby, but the fashionable middle class is paying respects to slenderness, and even thinness.
For women, there is one aspect which is common to both situations: demands are made upon them to contour their bodies in order to please the eyes of others.
Women are so insecure that they consistently take measures to capitulate to this demandc whether it is rational or not. The thinnest women either diet because of imagined grossness somewhere or fret because they are not curvaceous: the curviest worry about the bounciness of their curves, or diet to lose them. The curvy girl who ought to be thin and the thin girl who ought to be curvy are offered more or less dangerous medications to achieve their aims.
In each case the woman is tailoring herself to appeal to a buyers’ market; her most exigent buyer maybe her husband, who goes on exacting her approximation to the accepted image as a condition of his continuing desire and pride in her.
When I design online ads for American Apparel, I almost always look for an angle that will provoke. Outrage, self-righteousness, and titillation all work equally well. Naturally, the sexy ones are probably those you remember most, but the formula worked for all types of images. Photos of kids dressed up like adults, dogs wearing clothes, ad copy that didn’t make any sense—all high-valence, viral images. If I could generate a reaction, I could propel the ad from being something I had to pay for people to see (by buying ad inventory) to something people would gladly post on the front page of their highly trafficked websites.
But entertainment has the merit not only of being better suited to helping sell goods; it is an effective vehicle for hidden ideological messages. Furthermore, in a system of high and growing inequality, entertainment is the contemporary equivalent of the Roman “games of the circus” that diverts the public from politics and generates a political apathy that is helpful to preservation of the status quo.