Thursday, May 22, 2008

Beauty versus Anger

I'm sure you've all seen this commercial by now that has been put out by Dove.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it, to be quite honest. When it first came out, I applauded Dove's charisma and felt somehow vindicated. Like many women, it completely sickens me to no end that we live in a society where female perfection and beauty is so out of touch and out of reach. I look at my beautiful daughters and hurt for them as I know that they too will be bombarded with these images everyday and (like me) will have to figure out how to get past it and realize that the images portrayed aren't even worth the paper they are printed on. It's a long and on going process to remind yourself that the images we are fed and try to measure up to aren't even real. I'm sure I'm like most women and have good days and bad days with this.

I was watching a documentary not too long ago about a girl who went to New York to become a model and was shocked when her first print ad came out and she could tell that (among other more prominent things) her elbows had been airbrushed and enhanced. Her elbows. I mean, really, are we all that worried about the fact that this girls elbows might have been sticking out a quarter of and inch too far? She certainly was. For the next half an hour I listened to this fledgling model complain about her ugly elbows until I couldn't take it anymore and finally turned on "Deadliest Catch."

Although the main reason I reached for the clicker was to finally relieve my ears of all the whining, I knew there was a part of me that had to change the channel because I recognized a piece of myself in that girl. We all have impossible standards we are forever trying to live up to. It would be great to say I love my body for what it is and "embrace" myself whole heartedly, but frankly I would either be lying or completely delusional. However, I can recognize that no, I don't have to take whatever morphed, airbrushed and pinched face the current cosmetic line is shoving down my throat and swallow, I have a choice. Which brings me back to this ad...

At first it seems great. It's exposing the beauty industry for the lie that it is. Showing us first hand what we (deep down) knew all along. Then we get excited. Yeah, you tell 'em Dove. We're warped! We're a deluded society! We lie to women and make them feel ashamed of their natural looks! I'm so mad I'm going to shirk all my other products and go buy some Dove products right now!! Aha...

Don't get me wrong. I like Dove. I have nothing personal against Dove. I even use a few Dove products here and there. And, yes, I do applaud Dove for taking a different direction in advertising. But, that is just what it is; advertising. Dove makes a product. They need to sell that product. They have an image in which they are trying to portray onto their product. I'm just not sure if replacing the need for beauty with the anger over it is such a good idea.

I want my girls to grow up strong and self-assured and I want them to love themselves inside and out. I want them to feel good about themselves the way I never did until a few years ago. For that reason I hope Dove's Campain for Real Beauty is just that, a real voice of reason in this messed up image driven world. Unfortunately, so far, I feel as if its just another grab at my pocketbook.


Abi said...


For what it's worth, I think you're gorgeous. I love the shiny black hair and the way your smile lights up your entire face. I especially love your laugh. It makes me laugh every time. And that is the mark of true beauty!!

joanna said...

My friend's little three-year old told her mom that she felt "ugly" because she didn't have blue eyes. Its heartbreaking to know how young it starts.