Updated: Jan 14
Shortly before the first national lockdown in the UK due to Coronavirus, having been in hospital for 2 weeks, I returned to my family in the north of England to recover for the weekend. This weekend turned into 5 months, where I spent the entirety of the UK lockdown. Having had planned only to stay for the weekend, I had none of my every day ‘life’ things with me. No facial toner, no vibrating skin cleanser, no hair mask, no cooling eye mask – in other words - none of the products I’d impulsively bought at 3am, whilst lacking in self-esteem, due to suffering with severe acne. During lockdown, I felt the happiest I’d felt in years, despite the situation and being so far removed from my normal life in London and from my ‘essential’ self-care products. During this time however, I began to notice a surge in self-care ADS on Instagram. This surge is what inspired me to create my interactive fashion film Quick Fix.
The purpose of this experiment was to gauge not only the volume of content i was exposed to on Instagram, but also the types of content. Having recently googled 'products to help with acne', i was inevitably targeted with ads mostly all relating to skin-care, or therapy. Firstly, i didn't feel so good seeing these ADS, so it occurred to me how must other women feel if they experience the same thing?
Some of the key words throughout these adverts are :
It is noticeable that these types of words are often used all across beauty and skincare brand advertisements. They connote 'results' and the notion that if you buy these products your skin can be all of these things. Most advertisements are of professionally taken photographs, often with visually clean aesthetics. This is something i've noticed with certain types of 'natural' brands. Many of them have uptaken this 'clean' aesthetic, often associating their brand with 'organic', 'clean', 'natural' products.
For me the more obvious feature of all of these advertisements and the way they were disseminated, is the the 'instant' nature of them. Many of these advertisements promise instant results, for example, the bottom right AD claims the professional looking skin-device will provide 'skin goals in 5 minutes'. Obviously we all know that is impossible. So i wonder what sort of effects these false promises have on women? The content of these ads is of course important, however the context in which they were disseminated, I think is the most problematic part. Whilst scrolling through Instagram stories, watching stories of my friends, within that were 15 ADS all relating to skin care. Something I am quite insecure about and feel rubbish about anyway, without being bombarded by ADS about how i can 'glow', get 'clear' skin or 'skin goals'.
For this project i want to explore more about what the effects are of these sorts of ADS in relation to narratives of self-care. Where it feels like women are expected to always be making themselves better. On Instagram, making ones' self better is almost always focused on products a woman can buy, or creams she can use on her skin to do this. I think the effects of this must be harmful and hope to create a film which depicts these pressures.