In a current commercial for whitening strips (Listerine, I believe), the girl using the “good” brand whitens her teeth and then goes out and has a happy life, looking in store windows, playing with her boyfriend and his dog, all that stuff. The other girl stands in front of the mirror, feeling frustrated because her whitening strips didn’t work.
So because her teeth are white she can’t go out? Is that the message the commercial is sending us?
She won’t be attractive and have a dog or a boyfriend.
Whitening strips might be useful for someone who’s been a long-time smoker or tea drinker or regularly participates in some teeth-staining activity. But does not having really white teeth mean you’re not a beautiful person? No, it’s an artificial construct.
I’m not sure why I find this ad particularly frustrating. There so many similar messages that we all receive day after day. Lose more weight so you’re skinny like a model, have a 6-pack or you’re not worth looking at, if you’re not pretty you lose worth as a person.
Fortunately, some of these problems can be solved by buying the “right” product–diet pills, makeup, plastic surgery. Whitening strips are a small and comparatively safe part of it all. And maybe that’s what bugs me.
I don’t care if you want to whiten your teeth. But to have a company imply that my normal teeth are bad is disgusting. I practice good dental hygiene; I brush and floss and whatnot. But they’re some sort of natural ivory, not unnaturally white, and that’s ok with me.