In Ira Levin’s dystopic The Stepford Wives the normal, human wives are replaced with (spoiler alert) robot substitutes. That in itself disturbs me, but it’s meant to – Levin wants us to question our lives and our world and our values. Fair enough.
However, when I see the current advertisements on TV, I wonder about the “push” to make us more plastic, less human… and whether that’s coming from us, or the marketing / manufacturing types. I worry that we’re becoming “plastic people leading plastic lives”
The first one is anti-perspirants. In my childhood (and I’ve yet to reach the half-century) the sign of a good worker and a good day’s labour was the fact that you’d raised a sweat. If you weren’t, then you weren’t working. I understand that not all work is manual and that cerebral effort doesn’t necessarily involve perspiration, however, if your body heats up, it perspires moisture to cool down. If this doesn’t happen, your body can overheat, and fun stuff like heat exhaustion can occur. How likely that is depends on how hot your body gets.
Fair enough, when you’ve been to the gym, or working hard, have a nice cool shower – this will cool you down and wash off the bacteria which cause the smell – but don’t stop your body doing what it needs to do to stay healthy.
While we’re on that subject, deodourants (and air “fresheners”) work by causing your olfactory nerves (your sense of smell) to stop working. So they stop your (and other people’s) body from working properly. This is overlaid by a very strong (because now your nose isn’t working properly) scent, which isn’t good for you. Air “fresheners” are now popularly used in chroming (paint sniffing) instead of paint, because they “smells better”. Symptoms of sniffing air fresheners instead of paint are the same – brain damage and death.
Anti-ageing stuff. This one is really a personal choice, but I’d like to think that I’ve gained a bit of wisdom and experience as I’ve aged, and I’d like to think my face reflects that. That’s not to say I particularly relish the idea of someone asking about my grandchildren, but let’s face it, I am actually old enough to have them, so that’s not unreasonable.
With a lot of skin creams, though, the active ingredients aren’t good for you, they’re a cocktail of skin irritants and often mineral oils (which are not able to be used by the body) which cause many of the problems they’re supposed to cure – dry, irritated skin, ageing, even wrinkles.
Botox. Don’t even get me started on this one. Botox is short for botulism toxin. It’s shortened because nobody wants to think about injecting botulism toxin into their body. It’s used to stop wrinkles (by freezing the face – that’s how your body reacts to the toxin) and stop sweating (how your sweat glands react. Please see above for problems with not sweating). Before you cry “YAY, that’s for me!” think about not only the whole words – botulism toxin – but about other things with human form but no facial expressions – clowns – and the reactions they inspire. (Fear, in me. I don’t like faces without expressions, it speaks of an empty mind and that terrifies me).
There are other things which are marketed to us as desirable – the desperate desire for everyone to be perpetually young and skinny, no matter what; the “must have” latest new car, house, holiday, fashion… the perception that’s marketed to us that if we’re not doing / having / being / buying what everyone else is that we’re somehow lacking, wrong, unacceptable. It steals our humanity, it robs us of our personalities, of our differences, of our lives, of our beauty, and ultimately of our souls.
There’s a whole heap of other stuff which goes with this… the perceived “need” for working people to spend long hours at work in order to be seen as productive and thus to “get ahead”; the (still) inequality that expects the man to be the one out working all day, expected only to bring home cash and not be an active part of the family… but that’s all stuff for another rant.
What do you see as making our lives more “Stepford”? Is this a bad thing?
(Thanks to The Screaming Jets – “C’mon” for the “plastic people…” line)
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