This Ashley Madison ad on the back of a New York Metro greeted me this morning on the train.
Sorry it’s a crappy picture. The slogan reads, “Life is Short. Have an Affair.” I’m sure there’s better version of this on the web somewhere. In fact I went looking for one and found this Jezebel article: I’m The ‘Scary’ Model In That Awful Ashley Madison Ad
The message, “look airbrushed/have ribs removed to earn/keep man” “you’re only worth your weight” isn’t a new one. I see it all the time and I don’t snap pictures, or look up the company, or feel so dirty after. So why did I find this one especially disgusting?
Maybe it was what the ‘Scary’ model, Jacqueline said about “female body shaming” and knowing that “this sort of behavior [eating disorders] can easily be triggered from the careless cruelty of advertisements like the one in question.”
Maybe it was the check boxes, itemizing women like some product to be thrown out.
Maybe it was the asinine, hacky, cringe worthy slogan, “Life is short. Have an affair,” the uninspired fat vs. skinny, ugly vs. hot, angle.
Maybe it was because the ad wasn’t just the message; it was a blatant, literal call to action of that message.
Maybe it was because it took me back to my fourteen year old self crossing her arms over her stomach every time she sat down, putting her mom’s foundation on the sides of her underarms to look like the girls in the magazines who didn’t have any lines on their skin, (no side boob creases at all!), and my mother telling me over and over again I was beautiful and me thinking “yeah, but not perfect.”
I guess it was all those things. And I guess it’s always going to be a struggle, as a woman, to feel like a whole person and not some flat image next to a check box.
In time though, I was able to see myself the way my mother saw me, beautiful because of so many things not having to do with the size of my body or how flawless my skin looked over it.
I hope the young girls who see ads like this can too someday.