Thursday, May 7, 2009

You know what I hate about the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty?

No, it's not the irony of a beauty product company making these commercials. It's that they're preaching, "Let's show girls that they're not fat and ugly!" rather than, "Your beauty doesn't define you!" This kind of thing just reaffirms that as a young female, how you look is really important. Maybe the reason girls feel unusually bad about being ugly isn't because of "unrealistic media standards" (men aren't saying Megan Fox or no deal, people) but because our culture greatly exaggerates how important your looks are. The Dove campaign says that girls thinking they're fat/ugly is a serious problem. How about some commercials/surveys about girls thinking they're stupid, or incompetent, or unlikable or like they're bad people? No no, thinking you're any of those things just doesn't rack up to the horrible thought that you're fat.

"We found girls is Britain have some of the lowest self-esteem in the world, with 92% of sixteen-year-olds saying they'd like to change something about their appearance."

"A shocking survey has found that nearly three quarters of eight-to-twelve-year-olds want to change something about their appearance. Why do they have such low esteem?" Then [referring to the first mentioned study], "Dove did these surveys and found that UK girls have the lowest self-esteem in the world."

What a vain picture of girls, to think that how they feel about their looks is the sole determinant of their self-esteem.

Besides that, kids aren't stupid enough to think that all girls are physically beautiful, or full of "inner-beauty" either, so in saying that, Dove is just destroying their credibility with girls. I remember being a kid and reading an article in Girl's Life magazine about how some group of girls thought they were ugly, but experts were able to point out something pretty about every one of them. Yeah, nice try Girl's Life, saying that isn't going to convince me that ugly girls simply don't exist. I've fuckin' seen them. I only remember it because it was when I realized you can never trust anyone who tells you that you're pretty.

A really stupid contradiction I noticed when I was fourteen or so, watching plastic surgery shows, was that pseudo-moralistic surgeons would go, "I won't perform plastic surgery on people doing it for the wrong reasons. If you want it because you want other people to like how you look, that's a bad reason. But if want it because it'll make you feel better about yourself, there is a good reason to have something done."

That's the same damn thing. No one living on an island of population: 1 would feel better about themselves if they had some plastic surgery.

Trying to attach your physical appearance to your self-esteem while separating it from what other people think of you is just stupid. "I encourage self-confidence, feel good about the way you look but ignore what others think of you." Yeah, that makes sense.... are you attracted to yourself or something? People will try countering my claim that how you feel about your looks is dependent on how you think you're perceived by pointing out fat chicks who wear skimpy clothes and claim to love how they look. I'm pretty sure those fat girls are really focusing on the chubby chasers who like that sort of thing. Case in point:

"I don't care what they say about my weight."
But then...
"Some guys may say, 'It's her curves that I dig'. They like the tight pants that I wear."

What was that about you not caring about what people said, Miss Platinum?

I'm pretty sure that other women who like this campaign do so because they feel like it sympathizes with them, not because it actually made them more confident. When will we get past, "Noooo, you're not really fat," and move onto, "Who you are is not based on your physical appearance?"

That being said, as long as the Dove campaign is pulling the ol' "The beauty industry uses women who are unrealistic/your natural shape is beautiful etc" bullshit, I think Baby Got Back should be the next campaign song.


  1. You know, the people who make these kinds of commercials always have some kind of agenda to push. With beauty companies, they're always trying to get their product sold and historically, the typical marketing technique has been to convince girls that they are not beautiful without their product. In this case, that beauty company simply wants to distinguish it from the others in making it appear as if all girls have something beautiful in them regardless of anything else.

    And as you said, it still puts the message on the fact that beauty is overly emphasized in our society. It may deliberately be trying to keep them focused on that message to get the girls who see this to implicitly recognize their name favorably and buy their products, but it may also be a genuine commercial created out of the concern of many girls having low self-esteem due to their looks thanks to such commercials - with this being a way to help save face or set it apart from the other beauty companies. You may disagree that they're helping anything as they're still promoting beauty if the latter is the case, but don't you think that beauty would still be overly emphasized with or without it and that it's still an important message to get across regardless?

  2. I don't think they're trying to emphasize the "looks are important" message, but they want women to see the commercial and feel like it empathizes with them so that they'll be more fond of Dove as a company and want to but their products.

    I do think that the people who made this campaign had some genuine concern for girls with low self-esteem but didn't realize what they were actually saying.