Dove recently launched a new ad that complimented women on their natural beauty. “Women are more beautiful than they think” the ad said. Quite predictably, thousands of women updated their Facebook and Twitter statuses with “We are more beautiful than we think we are” and “Treasure yourself, you are beautiful.” What many read to be a flattering source of self-respect and realization of the self, can be seen as unmistakably condemning to the women race- a shamelessly shallow justification of beauty, I would argue.
Are we really defined by our outer appearances? If you watch the ad, you will see that the experiment conducted by Dove in the ad involves a tall, blonde woman who doesn’t see herself as beautiful enough. People around her describe her to be more beautiful than she perceives herself. She leaves the room in tears, convinced that she is more beautiful than she imagines.
A happy ending.
Not really. It’s astounding how unquestioning and shallow women can sometimes be. Blogger Jazz Brice correctly points out in her blog (http://jazzylittledrops.tumblr.com/post/48118645174/why-doves-real-beauty-sketches-video-makes-me), that the ad is racist and close-minded. What she doesn’t mention—is that the ad is also sexist. I’d like to see a man put up there, as a puppet, being made to talk about his outer appearance and being made to believe that he is more handsome than he thinks he is. For centuries, society has stressed on the need for women to be “beautiful,” and to treasure their outer beauty. If the ad really does promote women to think highly of themselves, why does it even bring up the fact that beauty is essential to self-respect.
It is essentially our need to please—mostly members of the opposite sex—that makes us want to be beautiful. If we didn’t feel the need for our appearance to question our definition of ourselves, we won’t be questioning our beauty in the first place. Dove really does reinforce the fact that women should be seen as man-pleasing, good-looking creatures that need mirror—or other people—to define their notion of the self. Personally, I would be really offended if someone else was asked to define what constituted beauty in my body. I don’t know how those women could leave the room moved by this act of disgrace.
Women have always been seen as sexual objects. “Beautiful” women find it easier to make friends, get jobs, find husbands and even make it to Hollywood. A “beautiful” woman has the path paved for her; she has half the battle won. Even her kids can go to pre-school every morning and boast about how their “mama is the prettiest.” Are they ever asked how good-looking their daddies are?
I don’t blame women of my gender for thinking the way they do. They don’t have a choice.
“[Beauty] impacts the choices we make, the jobs we apply for, how we treat our children,” says the “beautiful” blonde woman in the ad. Really?
I don’t know about her, but I certainly do not look into the mirror every morning before making life choices. I’m pretty sure my mom, who I think is beautiful, didn’t raise my brother and I based on how beautiful she was. Her parenting would have been no different had she been any less beautiful.
It is because of companies like Dove that women are constantly made to feel the need to be beautiful, to constantly impress and show off their outer selves. We probably are more beautiful than we think we are, but why should we have to reinforce that time and again? Is it not sufficient that we are beautiful people—inside and out—and that we know it. By constantly having us estimate the magnitude of our outer beauty, such companies reinforce the importance of good looks.
Who really judges what constitutes good looks? I might argue that having a fat chin or brown eyes is beautiful. You can’t take that away from me by establishing that a think chin and blue eyes is the accepted notion of beauty. We women aren’t a statistic, and we certainly don’t need to cross a benchmark that constitutes beautiful. We can be and feel beautiful even if we think we don’t look as good as we think we do. Because that isn’t important. And it certainly isn’t “critical to our happiness.”
At this point, the only thing essential to our happiness is our belief in ourselves. We need to believe that at no point in time do we need someone to tell us that we have a thin chin. If we think we have fat noses, then so be it. Because I don’t believe that you saying I have a thin nose is beautiful is going to make me feel any better. We all are capable enough to rely on our own intuition. If we can evaluate our own skills and make our own decisions, we certainly do not need people to tell us how we should see ourselves. We deserve to have the power to think for ourselves.
Beauty is what we define it to be.
It’s beautiful to be able to define myself without a company telling me how to.
It’s beautiful to be me.
I’m beautiful even if I’m not a tall, white woman.
I’m beautiful even if I have a fat chin or a fat nose.
I’m beautiful even if my hair isn’t silky.
I’m beautiful and I don’t need someone to tell me that.
You are too.
As for Dove—they’re going to have to rethink their marketing strategies once women begin to wake up to themselves.