Son of a Pitch: Cleaning Up After Hollywood’s Mess
By ALI CUDBY
I’ll admit it – I was a Pitch Perfect addict. I paid to see the ode to a cappella in theaters. Twice.
I rented the movie on Pay Per View. I watched it on cable…oh…let’s not count the number of times.
Was it a lot? Yes.
Did I need a Pitch Perfect 12-step program? Maybe.
As far as I was concerned, Pitch Perfect was aca-awesome, and I couldn’t WAIT for the sequel.
With great enthusiasm, I went to the theater on opening weekend, ready to get my Pitch on.
The film opens with a big musical number at the Kennedy Center in front of the President and Mrs. Obama. “Hilarity” ensues when the overweight character played by Rebel Wilson splits her pants while spinning – suspended in the air – displaying her assets (so to speak) to the august audience.
Much as I wanted to root for Pitch Perfect 2, that scene made it very hard to engage.
As a society, we are influenced by the messages from mass media, and those messages are decidedly unfriendly to women whose bodies don’t conform to the Hollywood ideal. That ideal can seem impossible to achieve, even for the actresses themselves. Celebrities are scorned when they are deemed too fat or too thin, are immediately post-partum, or even when they dare to age.
No wonder, then, retailers consistently report that customers feel like their bodies are somehow lacking. The celebrity-driven body shaming influences the way many women see themselves when they come into your store.
While it may not be possible to single-handedly reverse the effects of pop culture, every retailer has an opportunity to be an island of body positivity in the sea of mean. A single comment can turn a customer off, which can have a ripple effect of negative reviews and lost revenue.
In the quest to cultivate customers for life – which should be every retailer’s goal – it’s the job of management to search and destroy anything that drags down the brand. Given the extent of body-shaming out there, it’s not an easy task. When businesses focus on the positive they will become a safe haven where customers choose to buy again, spend more and spread your name via word-of-mouth.
As for Pitch Perfect 2, it’s interesting that even the Millennial generation – the one that’s supposed to be all-embracing – still reverts to shaming messages for “entertainment.” The movie could have been a celebration of feisty females, but instead it pandered with cheap jokes. Women deserve better. Until those negative messages disappear, retailers will be dealing with body-image fall-out in the dressing room.