Jun 9, 2023Liked by Barbara Wegner

I am never comfortable with any notions about what the world owes me. As for media, nothing would be more boring to me than to see a protagonist who looks like me but who needs no development, only validation; who never gets knocked down and so never has to find the will to get back up.

Expand full comment
Jun 9, 2023·edited Jun 9, 2023Liked by Barbara Wegner

What I find interesting is how sharply the currencies of "affirmation" and "validation" have skyrocketed over the last several years. The underwear ad is using a classic sales tactic. "You deserve to see people like you" establishes a need, and the ad fills that need by showing people who don't look like models wearing underwear. That immediately puts the viewers who look like those women -- a much larger group (pun not intended) than the group of women who actually look like underwear models) -- in a favorable mindset to click on their website and buy their plus-size bras and underwear.

Of course you don't "deserve" to be represented in underwear ads. I don't want to see people who look like me in their underwear. I'm not even all that crazy about having to see ME in my underwear. But the "deserve" aims at the target's vanity. It tells her that not only does she deserve to be represented in lingerie catalogues -- she deserves the attention and respect that conventional lingerie supermodels get. And with its pictures of plus-size women, Molke dangles the possibiity that you too can be an adored and admired model.

So much of what passes as activism today is really capitalism. Marketers know there are a lot of lonely, hopeless, depressed people out there. And they work overtime to hone slogans and create causes that will cheer hearts and open wallets. In the end, validation and affirmation become just another fiat currency.

Expand full comment

You said, "It tells her that...she deserves the attention and respect that conventional lingerie supermodels get." I think that's a really interesting point I hadn't thought of. They probably do like the idea that they too could now become a model without having to exercise or diet.

I wonder if when movies or tv try to represent other ethnicities or LGBTqueer stuff that people who identify as those things now think they could to that too without any studying acting or hard work.

Expand full comment

Don't know about "deserve" but there might still be some value in it. As Robert Burns once put it:

"Oh, would some Power give us the gift

To see ourselves as others see us!

It would from many a blunder free us,

And foolish notion:

What airs in dress and gait would leave us,

And even devotion!"


Expand full comment

Well, I think that seeing an accurate reflection is good, but that is what the law of attraction is for, lol. I basically believe we DO see ourselves by the people we meet. We can't get away from true reflections no matter how much we try.

I don't think the book about prostitution and the woke movies/tv shows and model ads are really trying to shine a light on a "True reflection" in the way that your poem seems to do.

Expand full comment

Barbara: "We can't get away from true reflections no matter how much we try."

Indeed. ICYMI, you might enjoy Nabokov's The Eye:

"The novel deals largely with indeterminate locus of identity and the social construction of identity in the reactions and opinions of others."


Barbara: "I don't think the book about prostitution ... [is] really trying to shine a light on a 'True reflection' ..."

Agreed. But kind of an interesting dichotomy. Reflections are useful, but probably much less so when they're tailored to flatter our vanities and illusions. Kind of the nature of narcissism, of various social media "filters". ICYMI, fairly illuminating take on transgenderism from that PoV by feminist philosopher Jane Clare Jones:


BTW, love your "as above, so below" 🙂


Expand full comment

Thanks. By the way, I didn't see any mention of Christ's prayer about God's will done on earth (below) as it is in Heaven (above) on that page, besides that slight remark from Blavatsky (not even alluding to the bible at all) and they paint it all occult. Christ was open about his wishes.

Expand full comment

Remember running across the phrase some 10 or 15 years ago; subsequently have thought it has some relevance to or echoes of self-similarity, a rather durable and useful concept:


Expand full comment

Yes, I think we're all parts of the same creator. In a sense, I think we're all like figments of the creators dream, all parts of a whole, all connected to each other.

Expand full comment

Not a big fan of anthropomorphizing "The Creator" though a useful metaphor. Problem is in turning into a reality.

Seems that a more or less famous Canadian priestess -- Greta Vosper -- kind of got to the heart of it:

"It's beyond time for liberal Christianity, whose heritage and responsibility this all is, to act, writes Vosper. 'Those who recognize the Bible's claim to be the word of God as the monster in the tub with the baby,' are the ones who must throw that monster out with the bathwater. And that means, besides other painful changes, a real, radical look at the words and deeds of the faith's central figure."


Expand full comment