Virginia Slims cigarettes used to have an empowering ad campaign directed at women, “You’ve come a long way, baby.” If we ladies had come a little farther they would have left off “baby,” but it was the seventies and that’s as far as we had come: an anorexic cigarette, marketed specifically to our gender, empowering us to “bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.” (That was another ad campaign for Enjoli perfume).
Personally, my idea of “coming a long way” has nothing to do with being someone’s baby or frying bacon. Our world perpetually bombards us with messages meant to define the standards by which we measure our worth, success, value, and attractiveness. These cultural norms permeate everything from what we put in our coffee to what we ink on our bodies. A renaissance woman’s body would be considered chubby by today’s trends, just as the waifs of the eighties are considered a wisp of the athletically acceptable body type of today’s ideal woman.
And where is the God in any of it?
Would he measure how far we have come by what we smoke? Or how we smell? By how we look in a pair of lululemon leggings? Or how capable we are of having a successful career while we fry bacon for our families?