The Mall

People flood through the gates, a glass door dam that burst hundreds of years ago when the first advertisement ran in a local newsletter. My wife and I are searching for a skirt that will match her favorite top; she has a summer work picnic to look nice for, and I want to show my support by giving my opinion on colors.

We have to wade through the food court to get into the managerie of shops. Almost instinctively, legions of shoppers shove all manner of fried, refried, and “diet” foods into their gullet.  I stand at a distance for fear that if I get too close my arm will be dragged in and bitten off.

When we arrive at our destination, I’m greeted by a concoction of five different perfumes, stinging the hairs off of my nostrils. The newest marketing phrase is etched on every window and free wall space: Be a slut for him. Little girls clutch to their mother’s hands while the parents sift through bins of underwear. The thin pink lace that makes up the core of each piece has no more than a few square inches of fabric to keep it together. The little girls, wide-eyed, watch their mothers fawn over crotchless panties while taking in the bombardment of near-nude women arrayed around them. If there is a more direct method of convincing a child of what her goal in life should be, I haven’t seen it. Something is wrong here. Our meager sex education can’t keep up with this hyper-sexualization that occurs every time children are in earshot of advertisements.

Who’s fault is this? Well, in a way, all of us are to blame. Men have their hand in it; they’ve encouraged women to take off more and more of their clothing in order to appease the male sexual appetite. But the women have a hand in it as well; they’ve believed that the men would care about them if only they bared just a bit more skin. It’s a vicious cycle that has left women self-conscious, doing everything they can to please someone else’s eyes, and it has left men hollow, taking in every image they see without a hint of remorse or care.

I’m reminded of a surprisingly cheery moment in the Halloween special of one of my favorite series: the Simpsons. After the advertisements of Springfield gain their sentience and begin ransacking the city, Lisa and Paul Anka team up to set things right. They begin singing a (wonderfully catchy) chorus of, “Just don’t look / just don’t look,” for all the residents of Springfield. Their idea is, if no one pays attention to the advertisements, they’ll lose their power.

Can we stop letting advertisements take control of us? I’m honestly not sure. But we sure as hell can try.

Advertisements

One Response to “The Mall”

  1. […] The Mall – I loathe malls, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.  Also, excellent usage: I’m reminded of a surprisingly cheery moment in the Halloween special of one of my favorite series: the Simpsons. After the advertisements of Springfield gain their sentience and begin ransacking the city, Lisa and Paul Anka team up to set things right. They begin singing a (wonderfully catchy) chorus of, “Just don’t look / just don’t look,” for all the residents of Springfield. Their idea is, if no one pays attention to the advertisements, they’ll lose their power. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: