Being media savvy is a mindful must.
In our day we are exposed to advertising from waking to sleep. Advertisements are on our phones, in our living rooms, and all over our streets. It’s hard to find a definitive statistic on the number of advertisements that we are exposed to (there are just so many channels and media consumption varies from consumer to consumer) but it’s estimated to be around 5000, to as high as 10,000 or 20,000 ads per day. While none of these estimates are backed with any factual data, there is no denying that advertising plays a huge part in our life landscapes.
The reason that we need to be mindful of advertising, is that it is DESIGNED to have an effect on our subconscious minds. Brands want us to buy from them and they spend time and money working out how to tap into our spending psyche.
Mindful Fashion Media.
There is an assumption that you, as a fashion blog reader, might have read a fashion magazine or two in your lifetime. Fashion media, specifically the high end stuff, has a unique way of getting you to consider purchasing their items. They are usually presented to us in a fairytale landscape. The imagery used can be provocative, risqué, sexy, demeaning, emotive, and/or dramatic. Each shoot and collection is designed to create emotion and a point of difference or wonder.
While adult consumers are rarely shocked by the language of fashion media, through the eyes of children we can have a fresh take on the images we readily gloss over. The video above by Yolanda Domínguez (which I have shown in the past, sorry if you have already seen it) is a mindful truth bomb in the glossy mag world.
An exercise to aid with media mindfulness.
While I don’t recommend trying to do this with all 5000+ advertisements that you pass each day (there isn’t enough time in a day for that), this exercise should help bring an awareness to your media mindset. The exercise is a critical thinking one so before we start it I need to clarify the difference between mindfulness and critical thought for this specific exercise.
Mindfulness is an awareness of the present. The mindful activity in this context is that you are truly looking AT the advertisement as a conscious activity, not viewing it subconsciously like we do with the 5000+ ads we see and don’t really remember seeing. Following on from this you will be actively thinking about the advertisement from a place of judgment and critique, using critical thinking processes. Mindfulness is usually conducted with awareness not judgment, critical thought requires judgement.
All you will need is a couple of minutes, a media source (website, magazine, billboard on the bus etc.) and a pen and paper if you like to make physical notes.
- Look at the media image for a mindful moment. Set a timer for a minute if you like. Just let your eyes absorb the image and watch your thoughts about it without judgment.
- When your time is up or you feel ready pick up a pen and write down what you viewed in the image. This is what you see not how you felt about it. And example is: “A model (Cara) is in the bin laughing. Two men who look like they have pushed her in there. One man looks determined while the other man has a quizzical or concerned look on his face. They are all wearing denim.”
- Now you have analysed what you saw, write down how it made you feel. This is a direct emotional response and shouldn’t require to much thought. It could be: “confused” followed by a reason for your emotion ” confused as to why she is laughing when the men look like they are doing it aggressively rather than in a playful spirit“.
- Once you have an assessment of your feelings about it think to yourself ‘why did the advertisers choose to shoot this image‘. This process is putting yourself in their shoes. For the example it could be that ‘the advertisers were trying to evoke a feeling of youthful fun by replicating what teenagers would do for a laugh‘ or ‘the advertisers wanted to shock audiences into looking at their denim campaign‘, or if you found the image as shocking as the children in the video above you might have seen it as a direct attack on Cara or women as being seen as ‘trash’ or being abused.