I appreciate the sentiment behind Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, but I think the execution is all wrong.
Flat or Flattering? Extra-large or Extra-sexy? Aging or Ageless? It may as well be called The Dove Campaign for Political Correctness.
Referring to these women “flattering” or “extra-large” or “ageless” won’t change the fact that they are indeed flat-chested, fat or old. What Dove is trying to say is that despite the fact that they’re flat-chested, fat or old, they are still beautiful. But they don’t explain why. They simply show us their pictures and expect us to see beauty where we see women who do not meet society’s standards of beauty. Dove wants to change those standards, but they haven’t given us any alternative criteria or any reason to believe that women who will never walk down the ramp or grace the glossy pages of magazines are beautiful in their own right.
What is “real beauty” anyway? They’ve neglected to define what is it. Is it self-evident? It isn’t to me, at least not from their billboards. What makes those women beautiful? What is flattering or extra-sexy or ageless about them? If their beauty is not in their physical appearance, where then does it reside?
Pond’s Youthopia campaign tells women that “The fountain youth is not just about the looks. More than that, being young is keeping your spirit alive. It is the feeling of pride, knowing that you are in control of your life.” At the same time, it makes women paranoid about aging by telling them that aging begins as young as twenty-five and therefore they need to “combat and prevent” it with Pond’s Age Solution Early Defense System.
The “Goddesses of Youthopia,” the women all women should aspire to be, are lauded as “achievers in their own fields, they represent today’s power women, who are not only young and beautiful on the outside but also in mind and in spirit. These are women who do not only have beauty of face and form but also of character and will, women who have the confidence and the drive to go after their dreams and make them happen.”
Power women, eh? I can think of a lot of women with much more impressive careers and achievements, with more beautiful minds and spirits, with more remarkable characters and stronger wills. But they’re not as physically beautiful as the “Goddesses” and therefore they are less ideal.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Beauty is about looks. Maybe It’s not just about looks, but it’s mostly about looks. That may bother some people, but it’s perfectly fine with me. What annoys me is the pretense. Let’s stop pretending we’re not a superficial society, because we are. Let’s at least be honest about it.