(warning: there’s some profanity in this one, and it’s a bit ranty!)
Dear Balanced Souls…I come to you today feeling a whole mix of emotions about the Dove Real Beauty campaign. Have you seen the video?
If you haven’t, or don’t want to, here is a quick description: women go into a room, separated by a curtain from a guy who (they don’t know this at first) is sketching them. They describe themselves, and then someone else, who has met them once, describes them to make a second portrait. Then the women are brought back, and shown the portraits side by side, and most of them (or at least the ones the video focuses on) show that most of us do not realize how beautiful we are.
So I was moved, because I had been having a day of feeling not-so-beautiful, and thought that other women should be reminded of this fact: we are so much more beautiful than we think. I posted the video on my Facebook profile.
And then, the shit hit the fan.
A friend of mine reposted, with an angry rant, about how this video implies that beautiful is the most important thing a woman can be, that if we are beautiful, then we can have “normal” lives, that the fact that a man was used to sketch these women, to show them their beauty, implies that we need to be told from the outside that we are beautiful…and on and on and on.
Now, folks, this is the thing of it: I KNOW that beauty is not the Most Important Thing, but (excuse the profanity) FUCK, sometimes it feels like life happens more EASILY when I feel beautiful. When I feel that way (which isn’t entirely about LOOKS, by the by), I am more confident, I am more exuberant. I am more productive, and have an easier time connecting with others. And to think that a large corporation like Dove even WANTS to appeal to all lifestyles and types of women is RIDICULOUS: they have a target audience they market to, and they are doing a pretty damn good job. (Just like…I dunno, EVERY other successful brand out there.) I am one of those skinny, young, white women the ad was aimed toward, and it irritated me beyond belief that I should be judged for that (by this person’s rant). That people might assume that because I have an athletic build, my mother’s cheek bones, and fairly clear skin, that I walk around on a cloud of beauty, never judging mySelf harshly, feeling gorgeous all the time is beyond irritating. Not for the first time, and most likely not for the last, I felt as though I was being attacked for being straight, middle class, liking to get dolled up, and in a monogamous relationship. I know EXACTLY how lucky I am, and I do not take ONE DAY for granted…but I don’t judge others for lifestyle choices they make, and I’d rather not be judged. C’est la vie, I suppose. Sometime La Vie just makes me cringe.
And I get it: the video targets white ladies who aren’t more than 40 years old, and really, we are more diverse than that. Yep, the ad has a certain amount of insensitivity, but HELLO!!!! SINCE WHEN do we expect advertisements to be FAIR, and UNBIASED? And really, when I look at this video, I feel like saying, “It’s a really good try.” Dove has other ads that include women of lots of colors, shapes, sizes and ages: all beautiful, all in white undies. : ) I’m pretty sure that all large companies do “yucky big company things”, but hec, at least this one is trying to get what is MEANT to be a positive message out there.
Give the ladies who want to be Beautiful a damn break. It’s not bad. It’s not BAD to want to feel lovely!
Beauty is NOT only skin deep: it is how our bodies feel, how they move. Beauty, REAL Beauty, is Authenticity. It is a MILLION things, including dirty feet, wrinkly skin, loving hands, and strong shoulders. It is curves and rolls and cellulite and sweatpants and un-shaved armpits and bedhead. I can honestly think of nothing more beautiful than my love when he wakes up, his eyes crinkly with sleepy seeds, his hair a tangle on the pillow next to mine. A dear friend of mine says “Life is a beautiful mess, and I am in love with it.” And you know what? She’s right. I would argue that Beauty IS actually really important, because it is a vibration of Yes, of allowing, of abundance, of competence.
When we look in the mirror, we can see our entire lives as they play across our bodies, our faces, our skin. We can acknowledge that there is MORE than these parts to us, and the More is where the Beauty lies. It is the Grace of us, it is the Breath of us, it is the part of us that stops to marvel at daffodils and lilacs. Beauty is a culmination of all these parts, and changes as we get to know others, and ourSelves, on deepening levels.
I happen know some seriously gorgeous women. I am honored to be a part of a group of powerful, self-realizing souls, who look vastly different from each other, because they ARE, and each is Shining, Brilliant, and living deliciously, the Life she chooses. This is what is beautiful: how each of these women feeds me differently: from talking about Hemingway and Kingsolver, to laughing at raunchy jokes, from offering hugs when no words are needed, to inspiring the next step with in-depth conversations…these women are incredibly Beautiful. Not just by my biased standards, but by society’s…
Deep breath. This was my Lion’s Roar in defense of a Desire for Beauty, the Right to Feel Beautiful, and my own Little Girl who sometimes feels drab, not up to snuff, and simply common.
I think I got it all out.
Let’s stop judging each other. Let’s not make each other feel bad for wanting to feel “thin” or “bright” or “beautiful”… these are just states that can be achieved in thousands of ways, every day. Judging someone for wanting to feel beautiful is a waste of energy that we COULD put into really Loving each other.
How about, instead of bickering about an ad-campaign, we light a candle and send prayers to all the parts of the world that are hurting, and come together in Beauty, in Love, in Compassion, for just a minute.
May we all know Beauty, witness it everywhere, first in ourSelves.
Love, blessings, and plenty of freedom,
- Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches…with a Manly Twist (curiousfridays.wordpress.com)
- Dove Real Beauty Sketches…a beautiful thing! (lowsugarlowcarbslongruns.wordpress.com)
- Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What do you see? (positivepastry.com)