Example: I didn’t know how outraged I was about phone hacking until the media told me how outraged I ought to feel. Now that the News of the World has taken the flak, I can return to comfortable ambivalence. After all, that’s all been taken care of, right?
This week, there’s been media uproar about a ten year-old model on the cover of Paris Vogue. Dressed in leopardskin, gold lame, lipstick and heels, she’s a literal poster-girl for child sexualisation. Of course the image is disturbed and utterly screwed up. But this is just one example of an entire culture that deifies youth and designs ‘adult’ clothes to fit children. Why is this picture more shocking than an entire industry built on such commodification?
Then there’s the L’Oreal ads. L’Oreal marketing made claims their products couldn’t fulfil. Their models were airbrushed and millions of poor deluded consumers almost bought skincare that couldn’t live up to its hype. Disgusting eh – and who knew? Thank goodness Big Bad L’Oreal’s been slapped on the wrist.
Perhaps, we see the truth in fits and starts. Don’t get me wrong – it’s good that companies like L’Oreal and Vogue are taken to task. The media has a part to play in exposing such issues. But often the headlines are just part of the wider picture. The real problem goes deeper than the flashpoint – and we’re a part of it.