I’ll be one of 6.5 zillion women to admit it: I’m not 100% comfortable with my body. My butt’s a little too J. Lo for my liking, my boobs could be bigger, my 6-pack isn’t as tight as it was in high school, and my pores are big enough for a small alien to crawl out of at any point in time. (And for the record, I currently stand at 5’9 and weight 160 lbs., much of it muscle. And I’m not lying.)
So you can imagine the agony I put myself through reading the monthly issue of Cosmopolitan. Page after page of skinny, beautiful women enjoying sex, modeling the newest styles (90% of which I’d never wear even if I was 55 lbs.), and having well-choreographed sex pictures with Abercrombie models. Page after page, ad after ad. My self-esteem getting chipped away bit by bit with every agonizing page turn.
Then suddenly, I see an ad insert. Wait … what’s that? Do I see a LOVE HANDLE? Whaaa?
That’s right. An ad insert from Dove featuring what the company is advertising as “real beauty,” the campaign for NORMAL LOOKING WOMEN! Oh my God, I thought. I see cellulite. I see pudge. I see pores. PORES! The pictures were not retouched. The women were not perfect size 0′s. Suddenly I felt an overwhelming sense of relief: I am normal! The magazine proves it! (I also know new sex moves thanks to the magazine, but that’s not the point here. I just wanted to let you know I learned something else besides the issue at hand.)
According to Dove’s site, “it’s time to think, talk, and learn how to make beauty real again.” And so, Dove has set up a new site campaigning for more realistic ideas of beauty and encouraging confidence in one’s own idea of beauty at CampaignForRealBeauty.com. The site serves as the petition of millions of women for a more realistic and ultimately, more responsible, view of beauty by the American media.
Now look. I’m the target 18-24 female demographic. I’m forced to compare myself to Britney Spears (pre-pregnancy), Lindsey Lohan, and company to gauge my own attractiveness. At a size 12, I feel insecure shopping in teen clothing stores. My hair’s not blonde enough, my skin isn’t clear enough, my butt’s not narrow enough and my cleavage isn’t prominent enough. I’m not typically an insecure person, but when that’s all you’re inundated with, it’s hard not to be.
There’s nothing wrong with being skinny, either. Some of my closest friends are the dreaded size 2′s, and they’re just as confident about their bodies as I am about mine. (Which isn’t much.) Everyone has flaws, everyone has insecurities. That’s the beauty of this campaign. It’s not encouraging plus-sized women, nor is it discouraging them. And it’s not encouraging or discouraging waifs. It’s pushing for a more diverse, realistic view of women and their bodies, because surprise — not everyone is 5’10 and 105 lbs.
So hats off to Dove for FINALLY figuring it out. Hats off to Cosmopolitan for actually running the ad (ignoring the fact that it was in between two ads featuring airbrushed, size 2 beauties downing cocktails). My only hope is that the media actually listens to the campaign, which has surprisingly seen very little face time (at least in my area of the country).
Besides, thanks to the sex tips, Sussman has absolutely no reason to even notice my cellulite.