The 30 sec to 2 minute advertisements, the half page ads and the constant messaging by companies have manipulated people’s beliefs.

Killing us softly [Slightly NSFW]

Somewhat related : Fairness obsession touches Facebook using which you can change the color of your profile picture and I am sure you know about earlier Fair and Lovely air hostess ad

India debates “racist” skin cream ads” ( The British media can only look at it as racist, but bigger issue for India is that it is sexist) , especially with news like this : ( I can not even get myself to read beyond this headline).

Not just the media, even the way people talk to small girls emphasize on wrong things.

As I always bite my tongue when I meet little girls, restraining myself from my first impulse, which is to tell them how darn cute/ pretty/ beautiful/ well-dressed/ well-manicured/ well-coiffed they are.

What’s wrong with that? It’s our culture’s standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn’t it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly.

Hold that thought for just a moment.

This week ABC News reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that 15 to 18 percent of girls under 12 now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and 25 percent of young American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they’d rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.

Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What’s missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.

Hope the manipulations end some day. Let’s do our part.