"Real Beauty"

by Allison Dunatchik

As I flopped down on my bed last Friday afternoon, I thought to myself, I could get a jump on those papers I have to write and that presentation I have to prepare for next week. However, then I came to my senses, recognizing that homework is a rather depressing start to the weekend, and began searching the room for means of mindless procrastination. I stumbled across my roommate’s stack of fashion magazines and began thumbing lazily through the pages, expecting to be mildly entertained by various articles highlighting the sordid lives of celebrities and the precise style of pants I should be wearing this season.

While articles such as these were certainly present, what grabbed my attention more were the pages upon pages of advertisements that occupied a good half of the magazine. All of these advertisements featured impossibly thin, stunningly beautiful women – the kind of women I have never actually seen in real life but am accustomed to seeing in movies, on TV and in magazines such as these. Halfway through the first magazine I was already starting to feel pretty bad about myself and the standards of fabulousness I would never quite reach. Lucky for me, however, these ads that left me feeling so insecure also kindly pointed me to products that would assuredly make me as gorgeous and happy as the breath-taking models on the page. Needless to say, I suddenly found myself in dire need of various lotions, perfumes, shampoos, and mascaras.

Then I came across an ad for Dove body wash. The ad featured a curvy woman of rather large stature compared to the model on the opposing page (but relatively average by normal standards). She was in her plain cotton underwear, standing defiantly, hands on hips, and her head tossed back in laughter. Below the photo the caption simply read “Real Beauty” and I couldn’t help but feel relieved by the ad. It felt refreshing to see this happy, confident, and beautifully ordinary woman amidst all those other goddess-like untouchable creatures. Instead of telling me “you’re not as beautiful as this woman, but you can be if you buy this product” this ad seemed to say “look at how happy this woman is with herself, use this product and be happy with yourself too.” A marketing tactic to be sure, but a much softer, and arguably a much healthier one.

In a society where eating disorders and plastic surgery are on the rise, Dove may just have struck gold with its new marketing ploy entitled “Campaign for Real Beauty.” After all, who wouldn’t rather be sold a product by a company that tells you “it’s okay to be just you.” After visiting Dove’s website, just once, I already possess a higher opinion of Dove products – an opinion I’m sure to remember the next time I’m in need of some body wash.

(Photo of the runway models provided by jesus of morgueFile. Photo of the unidentified woman provided by Somadjinn of morgueFile. The photos were merged using Photoshop. No other changes were made in the photographic representation.)

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Allie said...

I love those ads!
It surprises me though that no one else ever did an ad campaign like that given the level of public criticism aimed at stick-thin models.

Anonymous said...

i think the woman on the left looks pretty happy.

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