I understand that marketing is important when you are opening a new business. I understand that you want an ad the excites your target audience and entices them to come and check out your latest venture. I respect the fact that all ads have an end goal to sell something – a product or an experience – and that they are necessary in order for you, said owner, to make money.
But – while your billboard was supposed to be selling food, what my daughter saw was something completely different. She didn’t notice the address, the name of the restaurant or the chicken wings on the plate. All she saw were the three scantily clad women, whom I assume were supposed to be waitresses. As we drove by your billboard, I could see her honing in on each of these women in your billboard, their images being seared into her vulnerable little mind. I knew she was thinking something, but it wasn’t until she spoke up that I realized what exactly was bothering her. The questions just poured out of her little heart…
Mommy, will I have to look like that to be pretty when I get older?
No. Of course not. You were made beautifully inside and out and that is what truly makes you pretty.
But will other people think I am pretty if I don’t look like that?
Of course they will.
Do boys only like girls who dress like that?
No. The person who created that ad is trying to attract a certain type of person to his restaurant. The type of boys you need to be concerned about would never expect you to dress that way.
And the questions continued. No matter what I said, this image that she saw for only a few moments was taking up so much space in her little mind.
And a few days later, as we went to the store looking for new swimsuits, she fought me for awhile about what kind of swim suit we would let her wear.
She tied her shirt for practice a little higher than the week before.
She asked to wear makeup to church.
My stomach sank as I knew that she was already realizing the pressures placed on women to maintain a certain image in order to be deemed beautiful in our society.
And it isn’t just your billboard, but the images surrounding our girls every where they turn that create this pressure. No matter how hard we try as moms to instill values of self love, respect, modesty and integrity in our girls, they are still suffering the results of a culture that puts its ever changing image of outward beauty at the top of its list of expectations from our young girls.
As a mom, I feel compelled to protect my children’s vulnerable hearts and fragile self worth and ask you one question…
The next time you want to advertise your restaurant..
Why don’t you focus your ads on something else, and save the objectification of women for the patrons who show up.