Friday, November 17, 2006

Get Real

(Apologies as this is on the theme of the Dove Self Esteem fund AGAIN)

THE DOVE Real Women campaign has stepped up a gear this month and I'm delighted to see it.

IF you have access to the Internet and to the website you can catch a glimpse of their latest ad (Just search for Dove Evolution- I'm so down with the kids with all this You Tube malarkey).

The ad shows how, with the magic of a little make up, a professional hairstylist a photoshop even the most normal looking of us can be transformed into supermodel material.

The girl the Dove people have chosen is pretty in her own right, but her hair is a little lank (much like mine at the end of a long hard Wednesday in an air-conditioned office) and her skin had a few blemishes (much like mine thanks to my addiction to WeightWatcher Chocolate Brownies).

But then the make up artists get to work, painting, plucking, teasing, highlighting before the hairdressers step in with their tongs and straighteners and 16 cans of hairspray. Add some mood lighting into the mix and you've got one gorgeous girlie. But do the cosmetic companies and magazine publishers stop there? Why no. They use their computer packages to lengthen her neck, widen her eyes, make her shoulders more streamline and her eyebrows more arched.

And then, this primped, preened and photoshopped image is sold to women the world over as what 'real beauty' is.

Admit it, we've all looked at a magazine cover and felt a pang of jealousy at the lack of wrinkles and blemishes on a celebrity's face or at how blue and doe-eyed their eyes look. I'm not sure if we should be angry or relieved to find out it's all one big, fat (or digitally enhanced, if you prefer) lie. We all know that Dove have set about debunking as many beauty myths as possible and I suppose their campaign to have the average woman feel good about her body has sparked off a plethora of TV shows and magazine features detailing how you don't have to be a size 10 to look absolutely fabulous.
That said, I'm not sure the message is getting through. The majority of my friends still crave to be no bigger than a 12 and perhaps a 10 if at all possible.

They consider themselves 'fat' at a size 14. (I can only dream of being a size 14, I think I was the same age or thereabouts the last time anything under a 16 slid up past my thunder thighs) and it does sadden me. On a similar note, I have the most gorgeous cousin in the world. She is 16 and puts me to shame because (and I kind of hate her for this) she has never gone through an embarrassingly gawky and awkward teenage stage. You could search all you want but you won't find a picture of her with a frizzy perm or unfortunate ra-ra style skirt combo.

She attended a formal last week and looked really stunning in a dress that would, possibly if pushed and let out a little bit, fit over my thigh and yet her mammy tells me she thinks she has a fat belly. She no more has a fat belly than I have a thin one, but her self image is distorted- just like that of my many friends who crave to fit into a certain size label.

What they don't realise is that curves, stretchmarks and wobbly bits and all they still look amazing. Sure they are never going to make it on that Channel 5 drivel 'Make me a Supermodel' but who wants to make a living walking like a constipated ostrich down a catwalk anyway?

These are real women, living real lives, doing normal everyday things. Some are watching their children from sun up to sun down (or son up to son down as one mammy of a wee boy put it), some spend their days in busy offices shoving lunch down El Desco (heard that expression this week and loved it) and others, like my 16 year old cousin, are studying their way towards important exams.

All of them have more pressing things to be concerned about and all of them have so much to be proud of and yet all of them, and even myself included, can't escape their feelings of inadequacy regarding their physical appearance.
And that is exactly why campaigns such as the Dove one, which particularly works to target younger women and teenage girls, are so important. When I watched the Evolution ad, I felt a little better about myself. It made me realise just how fake the industry portrayal of beauty is.I realised that with the help of a make up artist, hairdresser and photoshop I too could look stunning. I could forget all my efforts and WeightWatchers and simply digitally shave several inches (or feet as the case may be) off my outline and look like a real glamour puss.

Reversing that thinking, I realise that even the most famous celebrity or supermodel won't wake up each morning looking a million dollars. She probably has bed head, greasy skin and bags under her eyes too.And cellulite- I'm hoping she has bucketloads of cellulite.So well done to Dove. Long may they keep it real! Let's just hope we all start listening soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it would be nice to think dove did this for more than just a marketing ploy...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...