We've probably all seen it by now, Dove's "Real Beauty" video, which means to show that we're much more beautiful than we give ourselves credit for.
And I think that is really, truly refreshing and wonderful.
It's also kind of manipulative.
You know Dove is owned by Unilever, right? And Unilever owns AXE, which features ads that are unabashedly objectifying. And Unilever owns SlimFast--and acquired Ben and Jerry's on the same day. So while there are undoubtedly people behind the "Real Beauty" campaign that believe in what they're doing--Unilever has no trouble with doublethink.
The "Real Beauty" campaign is more than just this video, however.
It's photoshopped. Per The Illusionists:
Well, in a New Yorker profile of photo retoucher Pascal Dangin (in the May 12th 2008 issue), reporter Lauren Collins questioned him about the Dove campaigns:
I mentioned the Dove ad campaign that proudly featured lumpier-than-usual “real women” in their undergarments. It turned out that it was a Dangin job. “Do you know how much retouching was on that?” he asked. “But it was great to do, a challenge, to keep everyone’s skin and faces showing the mileage but not looking unattractive.”So, while this campaign is raising great awareness and discussion, I believe we deserve something a little more honest yet.
Jodi Bieber has put together a slideshow of un-retouched women, and you know what? They are pretty damn beautiful.
Lindsay and Lexie Kite have a site called Beauty Redefined, where they teach healthy, realistic concepts of beauty--and most importantly, that we can be more than just beautiful.
Or did you read about the Sikh woman with facial hair whose faith and empathy actually changed the mind of the Redditor who posted her photo to mock her--enough that poster apologized?
And here's the best place to find Real Beauty: in the people around you. Do the women around you, the women you love, look like the women in magazines and on TV? Probably not. But these are the women that are loving/laughing/living in harsh light, with no photoshop, no clever stretched camera lenses to make them look taller and thinner. They might not always look their best. And there isn't any damn thing better.
(True: I need you to tell me what you think. Do you love the Dove ad? Does it's flip side weird you out? What do you think of your body, and the bodies of the women around you? The best thing that the ad has done is spark discussion. Let's keep it going.)