The Dove Ad
Yes they’re a company, out to make money. But they’re having a positive impact in the meantime, as opposed to no impact, or worse yet, a negative impact – like so many other advertisements do. Flip through a magazine and tell me you don’t feel inadequate after looking at pages upon pages of glossy perfection. Real women have waists, cellulite, stretch marks, freckles, scars. We should be pursuing health, acceptance, and love, not some flawless thin ideal that is literally unattainable – seriously, we all know it’s airbrushed, but do you really understand what that means? What the models, actresses, musicians and other celebrities look like before their images are digitally manipulated? Furthermore, how much sense does it make to strive for the figure of a 9 year old boy, to be sickly thin? Not much more sense than it does to be unhealthily overweight. Forget sizes, forget charts – exercise for strength, heart health, endorphins, and fun (it may not start out that way – you’ve gotta push through some of that as well as try different things). Be active and healthy, eat right (splurge a little, you only live once) and don’t be so hard on yourself (easier said than done, I know).
I was struck by how the participants were told to “get friendly with” the other people; I wonder how their descriptions would’ve varied if they had merely seen the other people, not interacted with them. I think the interaction allowed for some personality to come through, and gave a more positive spin to their descriptions because of it. I’m not saying this is a negative thing, or takes away from it in anyway. On the contrary; the effect of personality on perceived attraction was especially clear given that the participants looked infinitely more like the sketches based on the other people’s descriptions of them. These descriptions led to softer looking images with eyes filled with depth and light. The sketches based on the overly critical self-descriptions were hard, pulled down in a way.
Take home: Accept yourself (you can start by cutting yourself some slack), look for your own beauty, and focus on that. Remember, it starts on the inside.
Beyond that, I believe that there’s plenty of room for a little bit of social responsibility alongside the bottom line; Dove walks this line well. I, for one, will continue supporting Dove as long as they continue promoting a more realistic and accepting definition of beauty. Especially over the brands whose advertisements instill a need in their consumers by cutting them down (and their model’s already slim proportions), airbrushing them beyond recognition, and preying on the insecurities that they are helping create, or at least perpetuating.