I first encountered Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty a few years ago with this striking video showing the (tenuous) relationship between a billboard photo of a woman and her face without the hours of work on her and her photograph. The neck-stretching is particularly astonishing.
Dove’s recent addition to this series is doing the rounds on Facebook at the moment, and it, too, is arresting:
I share the reservations of this blogger. Let’s remember that Dove is owned by an enormous multinational (Unilever) that makes piles of money out of how bad women feel about their bodies. Let’s remember that Dove is making these ads because it will help them sell their products to women.
Still, thanks to Dove for a powerful piece of social commentary that may well make you cry, and making an ad like this is at least better than making a conventional ad. (You can see more of the pairs of sketches here.)
The question, I think, is what to do about this situation. I have two initial thoughts and I’m keen to hear your responses to the video and your ideas about practical ways we can try and think differently about ourselves.
I recommend blue milk’s experiment in breaking out of this critical attitude. She found that after a while of choosing to admire something about the bodies of strangers she felt better about her own body.
I really like the analysis of Annie Leonard, in The Story of Stuff (accessible for older kids, too), that consumerism generally works by telling us what’s wrong with us. Being able to recognise this is helpful. If you can name something, you can make more conscious decisions. This is the kind of media criticism I’m keen to make sure SBJ gets proficient at as he grows.
What about you? Ideas for us to consider?