Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hey, you. (Yes, you.) You're beautiful!

Almost ten years ago, the Dove company started out putting out a series of ads designed to create a world where "Beauty is a Source of Confidence, Not Anxiety"

And women responded.

I loved the first ads with the actual real women of all body types and ages. But Dove got a lot of flack for them -- in part because apparently showing women who aren't model skinny "promotes obesity" --and over time they watered down the impact by removing the fatter and older women from their "Real Beauty" web site and campaign logo.

Their Dove Evolution video of a woman being made up at a photo shoot for an eventual billboard ad was a masterpiece though and is still being passed around the web today. I think the difference is that this ad shows us that it's possible. You too can be model pretty if you put on enough product. After all the gal in that ad was fairly blah looking to start and, sure they Photoshopped her features at the end. But, even without that, with the make-up and the hair and the lighting, she looked pretty fancy and close enough to what you see in magazines.

Their latest "Real Beauty" ad has the theme of "you're more beautiful than you think" and that's a message I am totally on board with. It consists of women describing themselves to a forensic artist and then a stranger who just met them describing them. The two sketches are then shown side-by-side and the difference is astonishing.

And women, once again, responded positively, passing the video around, saying it made them cry, saying "you have to watch this."

But, unlike with Dove's other ads, I did not have a positive response to this one.

I felt manipulated in a way I did not with the ads showing women with different body types or showing how a real woman's body is manipulated to look like a Barbie doll for a print ad. There were a number of aspects of the ad that bothered me, most of which are covered in this article. But, basically, it felt very fake to me. Plus I don't think there is anything wrong with freckles and wrinkles and all those other things that the makers of the ad seem to think make you "less beautiful."

So I am going to show you what I think the Dove ad should have been. Because, in my opinion, this is the video that you "must watch" and that "made me cry."

This video was made by Karen Walrond, the author of "The Beauty of Different" and, to me, it's what the Dove ad might have been trying to do, but failed, at least for me. Pass it on!
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