If you’re not sure what toxic beauty culture is, you should probably just check out Joe Jonas’ new injectables campaign. It’s baffling and bizarre, but the worst part. It’s actually quite deceptive.

Joe Jonas in the Xeomin campaign

So if you haven’t seen the ‘beauty on your terms’ advertisement. I’ll give you the rundown. Joe wakes up from his slumber in his crisp white duvet and asks the question “who wants to wake up looking like someone else?“. To which he responds, “not me”. Then the music gets overpowering and you start wondering what’s about to be offered. A new herbal tea? Maybe some collagen, or a vitamin e cream? Wrong!

Joe proceeds to tell us, that he “tries to take care of his skin” because he “believes less is more” and he really cares about what he puts in his body. So turns out the ad is promoting injectables, Xeomin to be precise. But all we see throughout the entire ad is body-positive language and action. He drinks some water from a fancy carafe set, reads a book, and plays some guitar. All while some guy rapidly reads the abundance of side effects over the way too jolly music. Joe even says “there is no one way to define beauty… with a smart toxin like Xeomin, it’s on my terms.” 

What’s the problem?

So if you’re all a bit confused about the message and the meaning behind the ad, fair enough. The feel-good language and positive be yourself attitude is meant to encourage people to quite literally be themselves. But then you’re told, or it’s at least implied, that in order to be good enough or to fit into mainstream beauty ideals, well you must use Xeomin AKA botulinumtoxin-A, or Botox rival brand. Hypocritical, contradictory, laughable, yes all of the above.

Accompanying the campaign video is an interview with People magazine. Where Joe goes into more depth about ageing and feeling comfortable in one’s skin. He also delves into the stigma behind men getting injectables. Which is indeed a great message.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily something that we have to shy away from,” he shares with PEOPLE. “We can be open and honest about it and be confident and not really shy away from speaking our truth.”

Self-esteem crisis

But it seems that there is a commonality between brands and advertisers using the same message and language to promote injectables. It is only becoming increasingly popular to flick on the TV and hear the same words come out of the mouths of celebrities who “swear by it”.

Credit: Pop Crush

The problem here, well this savvy move to place non-invasive medical procedures at the forefront of personal empowerment, choice, and beauty is setting a standard. A standard that is less accessible to achieve for most people but the wealthy. A standard that demands you ensure you use these injectables in order to maintain youth and in order to be beautiful. And the beauty ideal only continues to pressure and ask for more and more. We call this a self-esteem crisis.

Research done by body care brand WooWoo found that one in ten British women said they “hate everything about their body” – almost half of them said these feelings affected their mental health, and over a third said pressure about their bodies came from social media.

And the audience being targeted just becomes younger and younger. These campaigns claim Botox and Xeomin and ‘preventatives’. But Dr. Amina Ahmed says this is just a marking ploy. “All botulinum toxin does, is paralyse the muscle. So because you’re not moving the muscle, the skin is not getting creased and lines don’t appear.” Basically, as botox starts to wear off, those wrinkles will appear. So you get it again and again and then you’re never really satisfied.

The verdict

Well, I think it’s clear that the stigma doesn’t solely surround men getting injectables or taking care of their skin. It is about people having a fear of ageing. Fear that when they naturally and that’s an emphasis on naturally develop fine lines, wrinkles, or a frowny forehead in their mid 30’s that they can’t be confident. Or that they no longer fit societies made up and completely unattainable standards.

No more really needs to be said. Because Kim Kardashian admitted to The New York Times in June that she would be willing to “eat poop every single day” if it would make her look younger. UMMM?!!

So the stigma is against us all. The first step, you ask? It’s time to break the stigma of aging, not the stigma of using Xeomin.

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