Mar. 26, 2015

"What Color is the Dress?" and Other Things I Don't Care About

It struck me today how much time I spend ignoring consistent elements in my environment.  Sometimes it isn’t conscious, I simply look away from the television because diaper ads don’t matter to me.  Or, I turn away from the magazines at the check-out counter because not one of the faces or bodies displayed on the covers has anything to do with me.

I work in the automotive industry, so I get tailoring your message to your target audience and profiling segment types.  I understand that not every message in intended for everyone.  What occurred to me today, however, was the extent to which almost none of the messages permeating our society today are crafted with me in mind.

Look at the cover of any men’s magazine and the headlines shout at you. “Power Packed Workout!” “Six Pack ABS!” “Better. Faster. Stronger.” 

Wow.  Really? 

Women’s magazines aren’t any better.  “Your Best Sex Now!” “Flat Abs and Lean Legs.” “7-Day Slim Down.”

 Really? 7 days? 

I sucked at science in school, but even I know if it took me the better part of 40 years to get the body I have, it won’t change in 7 days.

It isn’t just magazines, it is all forms of media.  It is almost impossible to find a woman on television that doesn’t have a child or man attached to her hip.  Everybody wants to make sure I know how to be a better mom, an all-knowing wife, and the CEO of my own life, all the while being drop-dead gorgeous and sexy. The problem is, I don’t want to be any of those things.

The truth is, I spend all of ten minutes getting dressed in the morning.  My only criteria for leaving the house is making sure that I am clean, pressed, and covered.  “Covered,” being the most important thing.

It isn’t just the vain and superficial that cause me to tune out.  I also don’t watch morning television, the nightly news, cable news, or the “house wives” of any city.  Everywhere I turn it seems there are people shouting opinions at me, telling me what to think and feel.  I can figure that out for myself thank you, can you just tell me what happened? No kidding, during all of the Ebola hysteria this past summer, I scrolled through a dozen so-called news stories on the subject before I found one that told me what Ebola is.

It seems there is this FOMO (fear of missing out) that causes a lot of people to never, ever want to be left out of “it” whatever it is and they spend an inordinate amount of time making sure they are "in the know."  The other day I walked into work and everyone started shouting at me, “What color is the dress!?”  I looked at them like they had frogs in their hair.  “I’m not wearing a dress.”  I replied and continued my confused trek into my office. It turns out, my colleagues and much of America had spent that morning looking at a dress on the internet that changed colors depending upon who was looking at it.    

Now, don’t get me wrong.  There are things I care about, but it seems I have less and less in common with the people around me every day.  Marketers have abandoned me completely. I am not anyone’s target audience.  If I had to describe my consumer demographic it would be: single ( and happy about it), child-free (and happy about it) approaching 50 years of age, overweight( but not obsessed about it), moderately healthy, abstemious, conservative and liberal, not religious, completely over politics, and really, really into my pets.

So what does all of this say about me, or the society we live in.  Maybe nothing.  Maybe everything.  Maybe I will start a Meetup Group and find out I am not so alone after all.