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for June 23, 2004

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Esteem Heat
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

"Hey Paulie?"
"Do you want to be envied?"
"Of course."
"Would you want your friends to envy you?"
"Whadya mean?"
"There's this ad for LA Weight Loss and it ends with this woman saying, 'My girlfriends were jealous.'"
"You broads all hate each other."
"We do?"
"Oh yeah."
"Do my friends hate each other?"
"Except your friends. You're like Bizarro Babes."
* * *
"Mamie, do you want to be envied?"
"I do. But not enough so people hurt me."
"I'm shallow and petty."
"You are? I mean, who do you want to envy you?"
"People I don't like."
"But not your friends?"
"No, friends are people I actually like."
"There's this commercial for Trim Spa and their slogan is 'Be Envied.' What do you think this means?"
"We should attack skinny people for their weight loss drugs."
"Right. Let me get my steel-toed sling backs and we'll kick some narrow girlie butt."
* * *
There's a fine line between ads full of bogus ego boosting and the commercials that claim using a particular product will make people wish they were you or want what you have. Products like Enzyte use witty and hilarious TV spots to convince men an herbally enhanced weenie will earn them the respect of the neighbors. Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love has never had a penis - herself - but she's sure if she had one - herself - showing it to the neighbors might result in a visit from the police. One lawn care product commercial asserts that a man with an even, green lawn is a good person. Still the point can be made: when advertisers talk to men, they talk about esteem, not envy.
Apparently, women are supposed to covet their neighbor's dust-free ceiling fans, germ-free toilets, interior wall paints, carpet cleaners, phonics addictions, helpers of hamburgers, tinier waistlines, manageable hairdos, and gunkless oil filters. What with all this time devoted to noticing what other people have or think they have, you'd figure women might never get around to noticing whether Timmy's passing his spelling tests or if little Jenny needs glasses, let alone if her own highlights look natural and cover those unruly grays. Sure, everybody notices what everybody else has and does, but it's not an impulse that makes anyone happy. When we care that much about what other people think, maybe it's time to stop a moment and consider what the envy of others might get you, besides bars on your windows and friends you don't actually like. When advertisers play on envy, it's time to let them know you're not that kind of girl.
Go ahead. Write 'em a letter. Tell them you'd rather have curves and companions than thin thighs and paper-weight pals. Of course, it's only our self-esteem at stake...

©2004 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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