Neck Tape Nation & Loving the Body We Have

If one of your goals for the new year or just life in general has been to whip out some tape, grab the back of your neck, and stick it on that spot in the name of improving your appearance, then this is quite the time to be alive. Or at least it is according to the folks behind Nexsey.

Thanks to the world of viral videos, I’ve recently learned about Nexsey, a strong tape designed to improve your looks. Quite simply, the tape strives to undo the horrific thing known as, well, looking your age.  Capitalizing on the widely-held notion that everyone is supposed to remain stuck in a time span in which their appearance should never exceed 25 years of their birth year, even while blowing out 30, 50, or 70-something birthday candles, Nexsey knows what they’re doing.

Is it no surprise that upon checking out their site (as of this writing), that the following statement appears?

SOLD OUT - Sorry for this inconvenience, but please enter your email below for a discount when we are back in stock!

We’re a society fixated on appearance. We’re too thin, too fat. That person over there looks like a clown with that haircut, that person a few feet away thinks they’re all that wearing sunglasses indoors. Look how wrinkled she is. Look how bald he got. Wish I had his biceps. Wish I had her eye color. On and on it goes. We digitally change people in magazines, we acknowledge our supposed collective frustration about this, yet we often strive to look like the very illusions that blanket the majority of media imagery—even calling them “enhancements.”

In fact, illusion—you know, not real, fake—is at the very core of Nexsey. On their glorified Box O Tape are the words,The Beauty of Illusion.” So ladies and gentlemen, give up your $19.99 for an illusion. And sadly, people have.

A Nexsey video that’s been circulating via Viral Thread (credit: Glamzilla) features women who happily stick this tape to the back of their neck. This particular video is laced with phrases such as:

  • This tape will make you look younger and thinner (because you know, cookie-cutter goals)
  • … the quick fix we’ve all been waiting for (really? We’ve been waiting for this our whole lives? I’m holding out for world peace or a toaster that evenly toasts bread, but maybe that’s just me)
  • Turn that frown upside down (who said we’re frowning? And if we are frowning, who says it’s because of our appearance?)
  • ….making you appear slimmer and more youthful (again, the whole cookie-cutter comment)

Of course I get that it’s a person’s prerogative to slap tape on their neck if they choose. Botox, tape (Nexsey maintains that theirs is a medical grade tape, FYI), cosmetic surgery, false eyelashes, hair clubs, and everything in between are all part of what I lump into the “whatever floats your boat” category. If it works for you and makes you feel better inside and out, fine. Go for it.

But as someone who lost 70 pounds many years ago, I know what it’s like to be influenced by society’s standards and all the marketing hoopla that goes along with it. I eventually took my weight loss too far. I was propelled by the excitement of my success and my newfound energy. That, coupled with my lack of nutrition knowledge, and admittedly, the satisfaction of extending a big old, “what do you think now?” to childhood meanies and rude strangers past and present put me in a pretty unhealthy spot. The more I lost, I suppose I felt the more I gained in the way of undoing the hurtful comments I’d been dealt. I was shedding their bullying ways right along with my waistline, and it was addicting, oddly satisfying.

It got complicated. Psychological. I’m back on track, but having gone through that experience makes me even more in tune to—and saddened by—society’s collective tendency to shame themselves and others over things like stomach rolls, under eye circles, hair loss, and saggy necks. Things like being well, who they are.

Thankfully, you hear a lot about body and overall appearance positivity these days. Models are stepping out with the skin condition vitiligo. There are models with Down syndrome. There are people with pink hair and no hair―at work, in the supermarket, jogging. Moles and stretch marks and flat tummies and gray hairs. We’re embracing our teeth, tattoos, freckles, frown lines, and yes, our age and whatever physical changes come along with it.

This, my friends, is something I hope always sticks.

Note: this post originally appeared on Jennifer Lea Reynolds’ blog site, on January 6, 2017.