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Dove Campaigns for ‘Real Beauty’

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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.

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About Chelsea Smith

  • Right on for Dove. Do you know of any other magazines where Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ ads are in?

  • Tan, I’m not sure. I can’t find anywhere on the site that says where it’s been featured, but I could just be hunting in the wrong places. I was shocked enough to see it in Cosmo, though. I will give a small third-world orphan to the first person to find it in Vogue.

  • I wonder if it’s too little too late. I’m already programmed and at times when viewing these ads I find myself saying, “Wow, she’s really ugly.”

  • I tend to view magazines separate from how I view the rest of the world. With technology like airbrushing… how perfect can those models in magazines be?

  • Omni Temporal

    Suggest you cancel your subscription to Cosmo, and start reading something worth your time. Consider choosing from the following:

    Portrait of a Lady or Washington Square — Henry James

    Emma — Jane Austen

    Madame Bovary — Gustave Flaubert

    Middlemarch — George Eliot

    Keep fit. Learn about sex by having it. Read actual books. Smart is very sexy.

    Old Fuddy Duddy

  • TBJ

    You need to get over that self-loathing..skinny-as-10-year-old-boy girls are not, and NEVER were attractive. That is IF you are looking to impress men.

  • Had I known my selection of literature was going to be pored over, I would have included my complete summer reading list. (I am, by the way, a big fan of Bronte and Emerson.)

    Unfortunately, my beloved Jane Eyre was mistakenly checked with my baggage in the airport and with nothing better to read, I borrowed my friend’s Cosmo. Damn those long airport gate waits!

  • Omni Temporal

    Yes, well, when it comes to airports and airplanes, anything goes. I have my collection of “airplane books,” bought at the last minute pre-board at the handiest magazine stand. It’s telling that I never have the urge to re-read any of those.

  • Nancy

    Dove is merely on the front wave of a “new discovery”: ‘normal, ordinary’ women are not mainly size-2s, don’t really like reading about them, and are glomming on to the fact that the products these airbrushed things are pushing will not make them look like that. Dove is merely exploring a new market/advertising niche – and not spending particularly big bucks doing it – sending up a flag to see who salutes, as it were. Any woman who spends her money on these asinine so-called ‘beauty products’ is throwing her money down a rathole. There’s a reason they can’t print on their labels that the product rejuvenates this or does that, and that’s because ALL such claims are utter lies. They keep trying, but the FDA keeps making them quit. Don’t waste your money w/beauty products. They’re just another scam out to suck money from women.

  • Ah, Nancy, back to poop on the party. Glad to see you back.

    Now, get off your soapbox.


    God, I slay me.

  • Nancy

    Yeah – that is a good one. OK – it’s your dough.

  • And to think…when I went out to get some lunch today…I was driving right behind a pink caddie with the words Mary Kay in the rear window….big business face in a bottle is hey?

  • Nancy. Seriously. Do you ever leave your house?

  • Nancy

    Why do you ask?

  • An Editors’ pick of the week from the section editor. Thank you.

    Go HERE for a button you can put on your blog and to look at the other picks.

  • As refreshing as the “real beauty” campaign is (I recently saw the ad in people, and those women did look airbrushed to me; check out their thighs), it’s just a marketing ploy. Dove wants to sell soap and firming cream and whatnot and is just using a new approach to do it. I’m with Ms. Nancy on this. Then again, this size 12/6-footer has never been into makeup, creams, potions, and crap like that. What I wear is for me and not with others — particularly men — in mind. But I am as programmed as anyone else, having a tendency to flirt with eating-disorder behavior in pursuit of thinness.

  • L Lee

    So let me get this straight……you think Dove is trying this new approach so you don’t buy their soap……? Get a clue ladies