Confidence Chic: Notes from the Web
Psycommerce as Confidence Expertise
Feel Like the Queen of Confidence with these Expert Tips. (cosmopolitan.co.uk, 2014)
In women’s magazines, ‘lack of self-confidence’ is normalised as a universal peculiarly female malady. However, this malady has solutions—individualised ones. The confidence chic regime exhorts women to undergo intense, constant self-scrutiny and self-work according to knowledges and procedures specified by experts. This notably involves the ‘psy’ professions (Rose 1998) and the newer authorities associated with the ‘selfesteem industry’ (Banet-Weiser 2013). Indeed, the power/knowledge apparatus of confidence chic seams gendered psychotherapies with commodity logic, as illustrated by hybrid ‘psycommercial’ positions such as: ‘dating guru and head and shoulders Date Night Confidence Coach’.
Since self-confidence is allegedly not innate in women, ‘working on your confidence is a life-long task’, magazines assure readers. This legitimises an editorial bombardment of advice features ranging from how to ‘become confident’, ‘boost your confidence’ to ‘maximise your potential’, with ‘confidence commandments’ for every minutia of women’s lives—from the meeting at work to the ‘bikini body’ to fellatio. All this is informed by the general premise that becoming confident: ‘it’s all in the power of thought’. Influenced by the positive psychology movement, the confidence project is undertaken via the application of techniques imparted by experts—but in the arena of the intimate and quotidian. Readers are urged to engage in an enterprising subjectivity labour of confidence individually and at all times through the conscious direct manipulation of thought, taking ‘mental shifts’ toward a ‘#PMA’ (positive mental attitude). The ultimate exhortation to women is, then, to ‘Zap your negative thinking’ and ‘Think yourself confident!’ ‘Whether you’re in the bedroom or boardroom’. Below I centre on the realms of the body and intimate relationships.