How ads represent ‘real’ beauty

The new Dove advertisement has been discussed and debated by my friend, cousins and me endlessly.

If you do a Google search on Dove campaigns you will find a zillion images of women dressed in white. Purity? Maybe. Recently, thanks to Facebook, I saw the Dove Photoshop campaign. They had designed a software which un-did any Photoshop touch-ups that a magazine may have done on a photograph. Thereby, bringing out the model as she really is in life – with fatter thighs and saggiers bottoms. Then they came up with the Real Beauty campaign which used to pop up for every video on YouTube.

Now, an advertisement which shows women realising their true beauty should be a nice thing. Except that this did not show their real beauty. It showed how others showed them. Based on their physical appearance. Like we did not already put enough emphasis on our appearances, our weight and our hair. A person who is beautiful as a human being should be our idol. And instead of trying to look pretty if we tried to be a bit smarter, we would probably go further. (Not to mention, the fact that Dove comes from the Unilever group, which makes Fair & Lovely. And anyone who has been in India would know how Fair & Lovely makes it seem like fairer women get all the good jobs, become super successful, get married, earn better etc. They don’t say the same thing about boys though. For that they have Axe. Use Axe deo and millions of those fair skinned girls will come running to you!!! I mean, that’s what we all wanted to do right? Why study and make a career? Look, there is a nice smelling man. Let’s run after him.)

Then again, I am not sure if physical appearance is not at all important. I want to look fit. Not thin. Not Fat. But fit. And I should have the freedom to decide how I should look and how I should feel about myself. This means that, if I want to swim for an hour and run for another hour just to be fitter and have strong core and calf muscles, I should be allowed to. Without being made fun of for trying to lose weight. Or being made to worry about suddenly look like a man.

Recently, Abercrombie & Fitch came into the news because they didn’t want to sell their clothes to fat people. And how do we know it? ‘Cause they refused to use plus size models for any of their campaigns. A&F want the ‘cool’ kids to come to them and according to them, if you are not excluding any-one, you are also not making anyone feel special. Plus size models, like Robin Lawley, Marquita Pring, Sophie Dahl, Crystal Renn etc have changed the industry to some affect. But then, whenever these models would be featured in a magazine cover, it would be a ‘special issue’ for plus size people. The ramp walks they would be hired for would be a special plus size line. And it would all be advertised as such. Why not just a normal magazine with a normal issue? What is wrong with a normal size model walking the ramp for your spring-summer collection? Do they not realise that the magazine (which is technically supposed to be for the you and I, the normal, 9-5 job holding, working woman) will be read by women with more thinkable statistics? By pointing out a special issue, are they not discriminating still?

On the other hand, H&M (Abercrombie’s rival, if I may say so) has just done their photo shoot for the swimsuit collection with Jennie Runk. Not once do they mention that she is plus sized. She is dressed beautifully. And in all the pictures she looks fit! Gorgeous! H&M was also in the news because they have used normal-sized mannequins (with paunches and love handles) at their stores in Sweden.

I think I like this company. They don’t care about who wears the clothes they make and how the body should be like. Their job is to make clothes. Not make a fuss.

American Venus


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jagan says:

    I like how you juxtaposed two mutually exclusive things into a proper thread. Your new employer is lucky to have you 🙂

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