The Dove ‘campaign for real beauty’ has had a lot of interest both here and in the US. Some feminists are praising Dove for using ‘real’ women in their ads, while others are more cynical about their intentions. I am among the cynical group.
Dove is a cosmetics company that makes its money out of our insecurities. This ad campaign has been cleverly designed to appeal to women while subverting the very message it purports to convey.
If the ‘real’ women in these ads are so beautiful and wonderful as is being claimed then why would they need this miracle ‘firming’ cream, designed to turn them into slinky creatures that conform to modern beauty standards. The use of ‘real’ women in these ads further undermines our perception of our own bodies – here are women that are supposed to be like us, but notice they still uphold the perfect beauty standards in many ways; flawless smooth skin and glowing complexion.
On the surface this claims to celebrate women’s bodies, but it is still undermining them. For many the qualities shown remain unattainable (most of us will never have perfect rosy skin), but claiming these women are ‘real’ only serves to support the beauty myth. As these ‘real’ women, with all the celebration of their real beauty are still not there (perfect, that is why they need to use Dove’s product), firiming cream and the struggle for the perfect body keeps them smiling, so it should us.
If they can attain it, and remember they’re ‘real’, then we should be able to too. After all ‘real‘ women like these are just like the real women in the street and the work place as we see them everyday. Shouldn’t they be grinning while they later on expensive creams that do nothing for them?
Dove are a large corporation, they have a team of advertisers working to trick us into buying their products. They are not women friendly, and never have been. They’re not ethical either, their products are tested on animals.
There are some great links regarding this, pulled together on the f word blog.