This Dove campaign's being so lauded as progressive, so mold-breaking and Real, with sunset lighting and hand-held camera wiggliness. I'll admit,
for a multicragillion dollar company, it's the most exceptional in
body-acceptance marketing. But, and sorry to be all catlady 'bout it, it doesn't upend media's beauty bias at all. Instead, it's reaffirmed, the moral being we're only as attractive as others think we are and by casting the closest
approximations of standardized beauty: the main subjects are like 5 pretty, thin white women.
Yeah, there's 2 women of color, and a couple of 40 somethings. That's it for diversity. There's no dark skin, no big women, nobody old. Nobody with controversial, large or disproportionate features. No disabilities. No men, no trans (where that at in Dove's "real woman" shenanigans?), no dreads, just plain ole cisgendered, straight-haired, attractive women: advertising's bread and butter.
They describe themselves (horrendously, it's so sad) to a sketch artist, who then asks a stranger to describe her. They're
mollified when they see the "strangers'" version of themselves. Those
people's language- "she's thin." "Nice, thin chin" (wtf's a thin chin?), "little nose" "beautiful blue eyes"- just
reaffirm aspirational beauty standards. One
woman practically gasps with relief at her stranger's description. Says of her own version: "Her face is fatter". So what the fuck if it is? Oh SHIT, what if the stranger had described her as equally fat, or fatter?! What hole must she crawl into then? What products could she even bother with? Thankfully, the 'stranger sketch' is her 6 Flags day pass into the pageantry of the slim, unlined and light-skinned. The one Dove, and the entire beauty industry, caters to. Remember this major dumbfuckness, and that racially/conceptually clueless one? I'm not even gonna with the Unilever skin-lightening thing, people far smarter than me have talked about it at length.
"I need to do some work on myself".
Appreciating our natural beauty is "so critical to our happiness". She can move on now.
Teary catharsis once they find out they're hotter than they thought, Stranger Approved®. This is just a more indie tagline telling us pretty is the vehicle to contentedness, that self-esteem is based on external approval. "You're more beautiful than you think", but, Dove? You're the last one with the right to inform me. You're one of the companies setting up the lose-lose for women. Don't tell me how beautiful I am. I'm more than my face and hair and body, or anything a stranger tells me. Dove- owned by Unilever, whose Axe ads portray women as superficial, stupid and fawning assholes- is pretending to exorcise this formula from mainstream beauty marketing.
It's so goddamn hypocritical I can't feel anything but sad for these women and this manipulative surge of self-love.