Artist Yolanda Domínguez is no stranger to calling out the fashion and beauty industries on the often depressing messages they put out into the world. One recent project highlighted the bizarre messages fashion campaign images give out to children (“she seems to have an illness!”), and now she’s focused her attention and lens on the beauty industry’s false promises and inherent put-downs.
For Total Correction, the Madrid-based creative set up a fake stand in a busy town square that proffered to advertise a new face cream of the same name. As people flocked to the stand complaining of wrinkles, puffiness, scars, and the other usual dermatological anxieties that plague us all, cameras in the stand’s mirrors captured the complaints, and crucially, what happened when people were told that there was nothing at all wrong – they were “fabulous.”
“The beauty industry is constantly bombarding us with the same message: our natural body is not good enough and purchasing their miraculous products will bring us closer to the stereotypical of ideal beauty,” says Yolanda. “Their sales strategy is based on the idea of exploiting people’s vulnerability and our fear of not being valued.
“No matter what you look like or what your age is, there will always be a specific product suitable to ‘improve yourself.’ Somehow we have internalised that discourse to such extent that we now repeat it over and over every time we look in the mirror. Our body has become a source of embarrassment and dissatisfaction and we tend to consider natural aspects of the body such as the skin, hair or signs of ageing as something that needs to be ‘hidden’ or ‘disguised.’”
It’s touching to see people’s faces go from concerned and anxious to smiling, laughing and relieved as they’re told something they very rarely are: that they’re great naturally. “I’m not going to give you anything. You don’t need anything at all because you look fabulous,” the “beauty therapist” tells one lady. “Say it, I am fabulous!” she tells all of them. And while it’s not a new message, Yolanda’s creative and democratic approach adds clarity to the murky issues of self-image that surely every single person struggles with.
Yolanda will be speaking at It’s Nice That’s creative conference Here 2016. Click here for more information.
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