Marketing Spiel

Earlier, I was watching a video of Jessica Rey speaking about bikinis here — She made a few interesting points on the history of swimsuits, but then I suddenly realized:

This video is just a marketing spiel.

In a lot of marketing spiels, you would present a number of “problems” and then offer your solution to solve these problems. Very frequently are those problems dramatized, as is hilariously illustrated by those info-commercials. People suddenly couldn’t handle two, three, or even four different objects, oh gosh! This one do-it-all object will definitely solve your problem!

A perfect example came in this morning in the mailbox from a golf company. They implored that taking pain medications lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths each year, and we should avoid it! It was selling a “miracle” object that most likely rely on the placebo effect in order to “cure” your aches and pains so you can focus on golf.

Like the above video, this company used dubious examples to emphasize the danger of medication. Yes, an significant number of people due to pain medication, but those are frequently among people that was not healthy to begin with, not people who are fit and ready to play golf. The proper thing for people in doing any activities is to discuss their plans with their doctors, including describing their medication intake. There are always risks in taking medication, just as there in doing other normal things (drinking water, eating food, et cetera), and those risks vary among each person — so, talk with your doctor.

As for Jessica Rey — she used a Princeton study with only 21 subjects to illustrate that yes, men look at women wearing bikinis as sexual objects. Several problems with relying on this study: What about women wearing swimsuits other than bikinis? Princeton did not study that. They only did fully clothed versus bikinis. But of course, Jessica Rey ignored that particular aspect, just as the golf company ignored the placebo aspect of their solution — they are selling you a solution, not a product.

In addition, despite my best effort to find research on replicating this results that the Princeton study did back in 2009, I found exactly zero replication of this study thus far. Not only that, I struggled to find the original study itself! I looked here:

But I can not find the original study at Princeton, nor on American Association for the Advancement of Science. I looked at Susan Fiske’s CV:

Which is chock full of papers she have written, and finally found the study:

Cikara, M., Eberhardt, J. L., & Fiske, S. T. (2011). From agents to objects: Sexist attitudes and neural responses to sexualized targets. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23, 540–551.

Unfortunately, none of the five studies that cited this are in any manner related to the original finding. In other words, there have not been any follow up work that cited this, whether positively or negatively, in the past few years since this study was announced in 2009 (and published in 2013 — I have no idea if this is common tactic, announce then publish years later).

The point I am making here — you are being sold a set of marketing lies.

This does not detract from the value of those objects being sold — those swimsuits that Jessica Rey’s company make looks pretty cool. It’s the idea that is being marketed to you which you should be cautioned against.

Buy the swimsuit if you want the style, don’t buy it because a research study states that bikinis turn you into an object.

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