Capitalism wants you to hate your body

We are not born hating our bodies; it is taught to us as we grow up.

Capitalism encourages this because our self-loathing is both profitable and vulnerable.  The beauty “ideals” of whiteness, thinness, smooth skin, etc. are purposefully unattainable, as they then leave us in a constant state of “imperfection.” However, we would not think that our belly fat and cellulite were problematic if it were not for the the dominant ideology that shapes our understandings of our bodies. Through media campaigns, advertisements, shopping trips, and more, we are reminded that we need to modify our natural selves if we want to be attractive and accepted by society. The processes which we are encouraged to engage in often involve some level of consumerism, ranging from the purchasing of razors & shaving cream to plastic surgery. All of this requires spending money which goes right back into the hands of the individuals that made us dislike and/or hate ourselves in the first place.

The commodification of the body and beauty depends upon our wallets, which is why businesses spend so much time advertising to consumers. Our insecurities grow as we watch commercial after commercial with the same message: you are not good enough; you need to buy this product to make you a better person.  The more we recognize this, the more likely we are to stop buying into these ideas. The less we buy, the less we spend, and the less these corporations make.

Our bodies need to be accepted in their natural state; this includes an acceptance of all skin colors, body hair, menstruation, fat, cellulite, thighs that touch, small breasts, uneven skin tones, body odors, and everything else that we are told needs to be “fixed.” This is not to say that we cannot change our bodies as we like; however, we should not allow ourselves to be defined by the capitalist conception of beauty, as it solely exists to make us more dependent upon commodities and the individuals that profit off of our spending.

Originally posted on Tumblr

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One Comment

  1. Posted October 25, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Great post. I always try and think about where my body insecurity comes from. I question the use of makeup to cover up my blemishes, since makeup is a commodity. Ditto with heels, “tummy hiding” pants, and the like.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

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