Last week a certain Dove ad gained wide popularity throughout the media.
Many of my own friends posted about it on Facebook, citing how it brought them to tears.
Feministing.com had this to say about Dove’s latest addition to the “Real Beauty Campaign.”
Naturally, with a few fellow feminist friends talking about it, saying how moving or significant it is, I had to see what all the fuss was about.
I felt…nothing. It was lackluster, contrived, and a bit patronizing, in my opinion.
This is what I had to say on the MFB Facebook page (taken from a thread in which I shared the feministing.com article)
“glad you each read, and appreciated, this article. i watched that video and just thought, “seriously…?” You know what, So what if one of them actually did look like the first sketch more? OH DEAR GOD NO, NOT THAT! There is still, at the center of this ad, underpinning it all, this abstract ideal of beauty… And I do feel that a demonstration of confidence would have been more powerful than a showcase of insecurity. We need more examples of strong, confident women of all shapes and sizes and colors in the media. But what am I saying… Consumerism is consumerism. Looking for meaning in the consumer marketplace is like looking for love in the red light district.
of course, “looking for love in the red light district” works… if you’re “Pretty Woman”….”
The bottom line, for me, is that this ad still rests on a social standard of superficial physical beauty, and, to quote the feministing article, “This version of the message–that you’re thinner than you think you are–reinforces the assumption that thinness is valuable. The take-away might be immediately gratifying. But by accepting the worship of slenderness within a supposed challenge to mainstream standards, the video entrenches fat-shaming further.”
Furthermore, as previously mentioned, I find it a bit patronizing in its almost exploitative demonstration of female insecurity. Yes, lots of women are insecure. So are lots of men. I’m not inspired by this and I feel a slight discomfort that so many women were. I suppose its in the relatable aspect of it, but still, are we not all already aware of the universal human frailty that is insecurity? Once again, I find demonstrations of strength, confidence, and self-actualization much more inspirational. I find inspiration in Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Judith Butler, Cherie Moraga, and James Baldwin, who taught me that I must accept the inherent value that is placed upon me as a human being.
As a matter of fact, I think this is a way more “feminist,” awesome, and inspiring ad, so there. Enjoy.