It’s your own fault you feel shit, ladies

‘Women are their own worst beauty critics,’ says Dove in the latest instalment of its Real Beauty campaign. In other words, women are those whose insecurities are most effectively exploited by an industry that unashamedly rips apart women’s looks in general and bodies in particular every chance it gets. Shocker.

Luckily, Dove is here to show women that they are more traditionally beautiful than they think. How? An experiment that sees an FBI artist sketch the faces of women he hasn’t met based on descriptions by themselves and people they meet respectively demonstrates that the drawings based on strangers’ accounts result in skinnier women with lighter hair, straighter noses, fewer moles and less droopy chins.

The lesson? ‘You are more beautiful than you think!’

Or:

1. How you look IS important.

2. It’s your own fault that you feel shit. Relax and stop being so hard on yourself and maybe you’ll be happy.

3. Beauty is what it always was: see, you’re not as fat as you thought you were, and your eyebrows are actually very well-formed, and your lips could almost be described as full and sexy!

I respect Dove for trying, I really do. The problem is that a beauty product manufacturer depends on its audience wanting to be beautiful. And try as it might to convey that beauty comes from within, that’s not where it’s going to make its money – and, actually, it keeps failing miserably, every single time.

LOVELY, said a choir of clued-in, sensible, politically-conscious women on Twitter, and I died a little inside. ‘Dove is committed to building positive self-esteem and inspiring all women and girls to reach their full potential,’ reads the copy on the campaign site. It’s bullshit. Don’t buy it, girls. They’re part of an industry that makes money off your sense of inadequacy, and no matter how beautiful you are, they’ll keep doing it.

Women are their own worst beauty critics – mad, eh? No, not remotely. There’s nothing mad or surprising or shocking about the fact that people who are bombarded day in and day out with images creating an unobtainable ideal become experts at finding and focusing on their own flaws. It’s no wonder if, in a world where modelling agencies find their future stars outside anorexia clinics, women start to become both paranoid and neurotic.

I won’t judge anyone with an interest in beauty, but let’s not pretend it’s anything but shallow. And Dove, don’t you dare suggest that the hatred comes from within. It’s being handed down to us from a never-ending supply, sustained by companies just like you.




5 Comments

YES! Thanks Linnea!

Tallulah

The ad does tweak the heart strings as nearly everyone would resonate with the idea that we fail to see our own beauty however what in my mind it fails to do is acknowledge why that is.. The responsibility of this can be laid heavily at the doors of the advertising industry however thankfully we have the choice to turn away from some of the things that lay these seeds of doubt. For instance I never by fashion or gossip magazines because quite simply they make me feel shit that I don’t fit this unhealthy stereotype of beauty. However it is all around and you have to be soo strong willed to really step away and inside to see the truth and your own beauty. This is possible and should be fully encouraged. Thank you for writing this blog. It’s important to encourage women to tune into their own beauty.

Gee

Says the fake blonde…

I completely agree, Tallulah, that there’s a lot one can do to counteract the negative effects of the advertising industry etc. However, I think that the campaign fails not only to ask why we can’t see our own beauty, but also to admit that the brand itself sets the parameters for how that beauty is defined and contributes to a context where beauty is at all important in the first place. This, I think, is always going to be the case with a beauty brand – you just can’t get around it, no matter how clever your campaigns are. The fact that you have to work hard to avoid these destructive images and messages and find more positive ones is at the core of the problem.

Oh yes, Gee: I, too, am guilty as charged of being impacted on by a society that tells me to care about my looks. (And on that note, my hair isn’t fake blonde anymore, but I did love it that way.) Again, I don’t think the problem lies in how I as an individual or women as a group respond to these norms – it’s how and why they’re created, and the fact that a beauty brand would pretend it’s got nothing to do with it.

Post a comment.



Design by AMY&PINK.