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As individuals we show a progression of masks to others in acting roles, controlling others and arranging how we appear. We try to place ourselves in the best light possible while interacting with others. People pay a good sum of money to alter their looks in order to portray a different side of their “self”. The sign that I chose was from MAC, a cosmetics company which has a store located in the Bayshore Shopping Centre in Ottawa.
Advertisements such as this have the power to persuade society to look a certain way. I was drawn to this advertisement because I have always been curious as to whether this sign has a negative impact on society. Why is it that people feel the need alter themselves according to these advertisements? More specifically, what effect does this advertisement have on relationships and self identities? In this particular public display, MAC cosmetics is selling Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation. The sign displays bright, confident, and happy women wearing a product which main purpose is to create an even, uniform colour to the complexion, to cover flaws, and most of the time, to change the natural skin tone. Foundation is used all around the world to help people look “desirable” according to a certain perception of society. Society feels they may not be accepted unless they follow up with the new trends. Since these advertisements are supported by millionaire corporations, they can influence general society into imagining that their way is the most ideal way, and individuals will buy their product to keep up to date with the new standards of society.
A well known sociologist named Erving Goffman (1922-1982) analyzed and studied social connection and interaction. He appreciated and took interest in how individuals experience their lives as though they were on-screen characters performing in front of an audience. Goffman believed that we utilize “impression management” to introduce ourselves to others as we want to be seen. “They have to manage the impression they are making in the same way and often using the same type of “props” as an actor” (Little, 2014, pp. 28). Seeing these advertisements on a daily basis will start to create an identity. We can have numerous appearances for various parts of our lives. To maintain our “face”, we are compelled to act in a manner by which society tells us; regardless of whether we agree or not (Little, 2014, pp. 28). In conclusion, if a trend changes in the public eye, individuals must adjust to the present circumstance in order to stay up to date with their image and maintain their “face”. If not, they will feel they will not be accepted in society. Society needs to stop relying on these advertisements and stop judging people based on how they look or present themselves in the public eye. This MAC, cosmetics advertisement is just one of many around the world shaping individuals, relationships and identities. These advertisements will continue unless the public takes a stand against them. We cannot allow these advertisements to define us.
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