Princes Leia’s expanding breasts

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master Kipling

Apparently if you compare the Princess Leia doll produced after the original Star Wars movie circa 1978 and the ones out today, there’s a difference. In the intervening years, her bust size has tripled. Meanwhile, the bodies of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo have mutated from kinda normal to those of bodybuilders.

This according to an article pinned to the wall in the gym I’m using here in Nelson, taken from the Herald, I can’t find it online.

The piece also cites research on Playboy centrefolds over the years. Apparently, just as the image of the ideal woman has got slimmer, so the dimensions of real women have got larger. An interesting case of the ideal and the real drifting further and further apart.

The article referenced The Adonis Complex, a book which focuses on how men are now suffering from a range of disorders due to their inability to match up to the new ideals of how their bodies should look.

It’s interesting how this phenomenon has occurred – how ideals are set up that instead of inspiring us may just depress us. Some people sell the ideals, others buy them.

This is something Greedy Girl and David Burn at AdPulp have been kicking around. (They reference the campaign for Dove Soap, which uses somewhat less perfect images of women – though still hardly representative of the full cross-section)

In my comment there, I say that an aspect of marketing that bothers me is the relentless peddling of impossible ideals – though of course the public plays its part by buying into them. I suspect that there are some good opportunities for brands to get a bit more real with us. It seems to me that this is what the budget airlines have done so effectively in the airline business. Maybe Dove has managed to some degree in the beauty business.

Of course, such a transition will not be easy for some industries as David points out in a comment here. My own hunch, and hope, is that the net fosters conversations that start to eat away at implausible brand ideals…

3 thoughts on “Princes Leia’s expanding breasts

  1. Aleah Sato

    Thanks for this, Johnnie. I have encountered more male friends and colleagues struggling with eating disorders, in the past few years, than my own sex. Because female bodies are still more frequently used to sell, this sort of advertising’s impact is always seen as a “woman’s issue.”

    It is largely dyslexic, this notion of ideal beauty versus the reality of our current obesity rate, neither one healthy.

    You want to blast the industry, but cannot help but ask why we aren’t stepping up to the plate and refusing to buy into it all.

  2. Johnnie Moore

    Aleah: I agree. I don’t think it’s useful to only say it’s the ad industry’s fault. I think some brands play their part, but it takes two to tango.

    It could be argued that that this is simply an opportunity that is being overlooked by many brands. My feeling is that there is a gap for companies that deal with us in a more down to earth way – companies that in all likelihood won’t be using conventional promotion to succeed.

  3. David Burn

    I think it’s going to take a lot more than the net to chip away at these false ideals, embraced by advertisers and the public alike. TV is still a powerful medium. One that pumps out distorted versions of reality as a matter of course. Here in the U.S. for instance, we have two shows glorifying plastic surgeons and plastic surgery. We have another called “Extreme Makover” that uses plastic surgery.

    Whatever happened to push-ups and jumping rope?

    At any rate, the net can help, as it’s a place to voice dissent and organize opposition. But people also need to read Naomi Klein’s No Logo and other titles calling for marketers to get real. We need boycotts against the most heinous offenders and public denouncements. This is a long and difficult struggle, but one well worth the effort, in my opinion.

    Thanks for keeping it real, Johnnie.


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