As OLAY advertisements have drilled into us all, we must love the skin we have and with that love comes a real sense of respect and desire to protect it from exposure and damage. This is an issue, however, that a lot of people grapple with, who don’t embrace their natural skin colour and go to great lengths to modify it in reflection of certain trends often (as we’ve heard a million times) fuelled by the media and its representation of ‘beautiful people.’ And I’m not just talking about the Western perception of tanned being more beautiful because the opposite exists in many Asian cultures where young girls in particular take drastic measures to bleach their skin paler (as this is considered a sign of wealth there).
I want to look at one of the government’s more recent skin protection campaigns ‘The Dark Side of Tanning.’ Rather than just spruiking the importance of sun protection, for first time the issue of tanning as a culturally accepted and almost glorified act of beauty therapy is acknowledged in the various advertisements put out to the Australian public; including:
But, at the end of the day, this was still is a scare campaign and admittedly, it hasn’t drilled into me its message as much as OLAY’s ‘Love the skin you’re in’ ad did, which actively promoted a more positive outlook on the benefits of natural, healthy looking skin. Despite addressing an undoubtedly serious issue regarding our health that can realistically lead to death, just recognising this acceptance of tanning habits in our culture isn’t enough. We need to change how people view tanning not just for health benefits but for beauty reasons – because that’s what a lot of people sadly care about more. But it IS beautiful to be pale or freckly or latino or dark skinned, whatever you are born with is likely to suit you best. And this is why I love Olay’s message, even if they are really just trying to sell me their face creams.