It's an ad, but Dove's Real Beauty campaign is a gamechanger

Of course they want to make a profit, but they are also providing a significant change in redefining advertising standards and the unrealistic ideals for the way women look

Share

When Dove’s latest tear-jerking advert hit the web, I was strangely one of the few people that found it empowering and uplifting.

Almost as quickly as the advert became viral, a deluge of criticism washed over the web,with people frothing at the mouth at how “un-feminist”  and “toxic” the company’s Real Beauty campaign is, and that behind the muzak and softly focused lenses the company is nothing more than a bunch of soap and deodorant peddlers looking to make a quick buck out of female insecurities.

Even worse, one friend spewed out on Facebook that “underneath the Dove’s campaign is the reinforcement of the same old messages about how beauty is the most important asset for a woman to have. I'd just rather people weren't hoodwinked by the messages out there, which are getting more cunning as we wise up.”

For those few that have not seen the advert yet (or short documentary as Time Magazine describes it), it centres around the notion of women are our own worst enemy and it is time, goddammit, to change this self-doubt and hatred.

We are all beautiful. Yes, really.

In the three minute advert, an FBI trained forensic artist sits behind a curtain and draws a portrait from the subject’s self-description, which remarkably results in skewed caricature-esque sketches. One woman’s perception of herself resulted in a picture that resembled a sprouting and perturbed potato.

However, the artist then draws a second portrait of the same women using only the descriptions of strangers, which of course results in a much softer and realistic picture of the person.

Well, let’s be clear- Dove is a company and of course they want to make a profit. Their schtick is Real Beauty and to become a trusted brand that cares.

But what seems to be unclear to many of the angry and outraged is that while they rake in the cash, as all companies are try to do, they are also providing a significant change in redefining the standards of advertising and the unrealistic ideals for the way women look.

For decades we have gone around in circles, crying out for a change from the emaciated waifs on the catwalk, the impact advertising has on children at impressionable ages, the lack of “real women” advertising our clothes, or the glossy glamourzonians who are all heels, boobs and orange skin.

When a company like Dove (and increasingly others) try to use more real women in adverts we still complain that they are not representative enough (this person actually takes the time to count and list how many seconds certain ethnicities feature in the film for) or that they are still too “beautiful” or still “not fat enough”.

I asked several people that oppose the campaign about what their solution would be. I have yet to get a response other than “shut up” or “goodbye”.

What I took away from the advert, documentary, or whatever you want to call it, was not just another great leap for the transformation of the unrealistic ideals of standard advertising and fashion but that dissidence only emphasises the life changing message that Dove tries to promote.

The self-described portraits look utterly ridiculous because the point is that the women obsess over what they perceive as flaws and blow it out of proportion.

It also highlights that what we see as negative attributes are actually positive and beautiful qualities, and that we have got to stop putting this pressure on ourselves to look like one of the airbrushed beauties we see in our magazines every day.

It doesn’t say that being beautiful is an important asset to have, it is saying being happy in yourself and not worrying about conforming to an idealised beauty is the key to enjoying your life.

I may not actually buy Dove products but what the company gives to me and wider society is so much more important. The Real Beauty campaign is a gamechanger for advertising and more should follow in their footsteps.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letters: No vote poses difficult questions – so why rush?

Independent Voices
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside  

Autumn’s subtle charm is greatly enhanced by this Indian summer

Michael McCarthy
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments