I just perused a Soft Surroundings catalog over coffee. My, their things are expensive! Some basic items here and there I liked (surplice tops are nice, as are long skirts), but many seemed overly luxurious and impractical for the life I lead. Pretty, but the overall tone of the catalog made me feel uncomfortable. Of course, it’s really catering to a different demographic.
Because I’m hopelessly annoying like that, I spent the second two-thirds of the catalog examining it with a dissecting eye. I noticed a few things:
- The women were all shown in extremely high-income environments, and mostly idle and posing. (Ok, yes, it’s a catalog.)
- The few times a man was pictured (twice?) he was being ignored by the woman and was helplessly admiring her. Prop.
- The one time a child was shown, she was admiring the woman too. Prop.
- All of the women were below a healthy weight and, if leg length is any guide, over 5′ 10″.
- As I recall, only one woman was shown reading a book (well, flipping through it in a bookstore), and the man behind her was holding a book as well, but had let it droop inattentively as he was too busy admiring the woman’s back. The books were there solely to point out the extent of her attraction.[Note: much more attractive is a man engrossed in a book.]
As a woman who is surrounded by children and their necessary items, and who is likely to choose bookcases (full of BOOKS) as the ideal backdrop for a picture, (and, needless to say, is on the other side of the healthy weight range and a much shorter 5′ 5″ without those long legs), this all looks very foreign and narcissistic to me. I tend to shop for myself sparingly at Walmart and at thrift stores. My looks are pretty far down the list of priorities at our house. It’s not that I don’t like pretty things, but it’s just not top priority. In addition, I enjoy putting the pretty things on the children. It’s not all about me! My surroundings are not merely there to reflect ME.
I closed the catalog and only then noticed the motto under “Soft Surroundings”:
my time. my place. my self.
Well, that would explain it.