Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Teacher, Author

Super Cute or Super Shallow?

My friend Trisha pointed out to me that Old Navy has decided to break away from their strange mannequin commercials and ads and go with something new. This new commercial features a female dancing and singing about how she’s always “super cute,” even when getting a root canal. Okay, I get it, it’s supposed to be campy and funny, and the song is catchy.

What I don’t like about this ad is the commercialization and celebration of the culture of celebrity in everyday life. The message is “you are all super stars in your own life.” But, what does that mean? The most important thing about us is how we look and that we get attention,  flashing your bra at the breakfast table and in the grocery store are normal occurrences, and use your sexuality to get out of speeding tickets. UGH!

Look, the goal of our lives is not about looking super cute and getting attention. Our lives are about making the world a better place because we were here. Our lives are about helping other people and building authentic relationships. Is there a way to display that in a clothing commercial? I don’t know. But, there are some out there that have significant messages that make a social statement. Think of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. I won’t condemn Old Navy for making a shallow, vapid commercial. In fact, considering their past advertisements, it’s probably a tongue-in-cheek poke at some shallow celebs and their “me” focused lifestyle. Will most people get that, if there is some kind of ironic social statement embedded in “Super Cute?” Probably not. I’d love to see more companies follow Dove’s lead and use their marketing power to try to say something worth saying. Do you want to be super cute or change the world? I love looking cute, but I’d rather change the world. There’s room for both, but not when you follow the culture of celebrity’s shallow focus on appearance to the exclusion of all else. Thinking of oneself as a “star” in everyday life does not lead to changing the world, it leads to a shallow focus on getting attention in whatever way possible. That’s not so cute.

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