Personal Image and Bad Girls


Disney's Snow White antagonist Maleficent

Would an extreme makeover help?

We are continuing the discussion about image,  a construct created and presented to influence other’s opinion of a brand. Image is not to be confused with brand. A brand could have a positive or a negative image. Actually, personal image is one component of personal brand. Marketing is another part.

Image has inner and outer manifestations. Self image is one’s own generated picture of the self heavily influenced by self-esteem, temperament and personal interpretation of life experiences. This subject alone fills volumes. If you want to digress here, Google, “self-esteem”; “self-image”; “psychology”; “personality”;. I promise to return to self-image in a wee bit. We will think about “projected image” first.

Projected image is the way we want others to see the self. We do things to influence others to think positively of us. Using intelligence about what the public we want to influence considers attractive, we create an image–a package–that public will be drawn to.

 We tweak obsessively to keep that unique image fresh and well-managed.  

Image is the delta where the several streams come together. It is a unified statement in personal physical presentation and everything else–all the media used to represent the seeker. The object of “imaging” is to elicit a certain response. The handiest example of the language of image is in videos usually intended for young people. 

 Take for example, our girl, Maleficent on the left  above. She is tall, thin and green-skinned; draped in black. This Disney “bad girl” presses all the “hate her guts” buttons. In building witches or any female antagonist, Disney patches directly  into the historical cultural ambivalence in the United States about powerful (older) women.  All of Disney’s “bad girls” are not thin, but they do all tend to be mature and have magic powers. Black means age, power and death.

the wicked witch of the west

Allow me to show another well-known image: the Wicked Witch of the West. She too has a green face and a fondness for wearing black. Created to be hated. It used to be that a female job seeker was advised against wearing black to an interview. Black. It speaks of having great power beyond the realm of the understood. Navy blue is stong but not as severe/threatening.

As human beings, we all have to deal with the original factory issue package we were born with and how it changes over a lifetime. Again there is an entire body of literature dealing with how human variables like age, height and skin color influence acceptance or non acceptance of a seeker’s product. All the brouhaha about interview dressing comes down to this: we change to our advantage what we can; we downplay what we cannot.

If  Queen Maleficent dressed like her nemesis, Snow White, would she be more liked?Snow White

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