Thursday, June 21, 2012

A RANT: "Average" Women,Widening the Definition of Beauty and Deodorant

I don't know if you remember seeing the post I wrote about people dogging on Kelly Clarkson's SNL appearance but suffice to say, I take positive body image and related issues to heart.* Lately, I have been kind of offended by advertisements on TV and in magazines because, well, I don't feel like the ads that are meant to entice women to work on their appearance, are representing the diversity in woman or encouraging healthy body image. Here let me give you an example:

I was watching WE television the other day, Wedding Sunday to be exact, and a bronzing lotion commercial came on. Who doesn't want a "natural" glow for Summer by simply purchasing a tube of tinted lotion? I know I sure do. Trouble is, I was immediately off put by this particular commercial because the woman in the advert wasn't just a model, she was like super thin... oh but she was tan so that makes it OK! I love to look at beautiful models just like the next person, but this model just struck me as being bony, which I never usually consider a good thing.  The next commercial represented real women. Enter head shots of diverse women in lots of pain, oh me oh my, my period cramps are so bad, what ever am I supposed to do? The next commercial was two women sharing a cookie over a hedge, mmmm food, average women eat cookies... by the time Bridezillas came back on, I still hadn't seen an ad for beauty products or the like, that didn't have a really thin model... and this was on a Women's network. I couldn't help but feel a little sad, you know? Was it my perception? Do I feel this was because I am premenstrual and blah about the pimple on my chin? Gah, where is my self esteem? Take a look at the ad that sent me into a mini tail spin:

Now I know that you are probably saying, "Chill out, Amanda. There are plenty of healthy women in beauty ads" and I know that part of this lies in my own psyche regarding my own body image and the projection of my feelings on others, but really, are there plenty? Sure, there are plenty of advertisements with "average" women using their Swiffer, "average" women tying up trash bags, "average" women lighting their Glade candles, Mother's washing their kids clothes... but doesn't it seem like models and svelte celebs are hocking our beauty goods?  While I can somewhat agree with you naysayers, I guess there are brands that I expect more from. Jergen's? Well, I happened to have sworn by a Jergen's moisturizer after my surgery last year. It help me get through some dark days for my skin. You would think that it would be a natural progression to get my Summer glow from them... but not when I feel sort of alienated.

Ok so what am I looking for in an ad, you ask? So that I feel like my needs are being addressed? Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty is a perfect example.I actually didn't set out to talk about it but when searching for "average" women in ads, Dove came up for me... They did case studies on this shiz. Here, I'll give you a snippet and I bolded what struck me:

The Dove® brand is rooted in listening to women. Based on the findings of a major global study, The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report, Dove® launched the Campaign for Real Beauty in 2004. The campaign started a global conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty after the study proved the hypothesis that the definition of beauty had become limiting and unattainable. Among the study’s findings was the statistic that only 2% of women around the world would describe themselves as beautiful. Since 2004, Dove® has employed various communications vehicles to challenge beauty stereotypes and invite women to join a discussion about beauty.  In 2010, Dove® evolved the campaign and launched an unprecedented effort to make beauty a source of confidence, not anxiety, with the Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem.
This advertisement is something that sticks in my mind. I've seen it before and I've seen others in Dove's series. Diverse women of different shapes, sizes and ages. I can see 3 different women in that ad that share some of my characteristics... Fair skinned, curvy and short in stature. None of them look exactly like me but I can relate to them. Maybe that's what I am missing from the Jergen's ad, something to relate to. I know that I have gone off on a rant about advertisements and finding relate-able women in them but in writing this post, I found Dove's statistic and even if it's close to being accurate, geesh:

2% of women around the world would consider themselves beautiful.

Wow, that is a staggeringly low percentage. Is it just me or should that not be ignored? Despite my confidence at work and in writing this blog, I do have anxiety over my appearance, which is not cool. I can't blame it all on the advertisements I see; I can do a better job at boosting my self esteem, but still... couldn't I see some more CoverGirl commercials with Ellen and less with Sofia Vergera? Can't I feel like if I put on a little self tanner, the world is my oyster? Things can change but I am sure it will be slowly... but for now, I am using Dove deodorant.

What do you guys think? Did I overreact to the Jergen's ad? Should we as women do a better job at building eachother's self esteem up, say "you're beautiful" more often? I know I am starting today. I am going to try and compliment every gal I see (without being creepy of course).

*Kelly Clarkson is looking fabulous and as of late has been flaunting her newly trained body but still maintains that she loves to eat; it's one of her favorite things to do. You go girl!


  1. Georgina CastellucciJune 21, 2012 at 6:55 AM

    I don't think you overreacted at all. I think we should most definitely be supportive of those around us. So many women dish out snarky remarks or backhanded compliments solely to make other women insecure about themselves (and to make them feel better).
    I don't think we're' going to see the models going anywhere soon unfortunately because though most of us know there is a tiny percentage of women that actually look like that, marketers have had many years proving that women respond better to thin/pretty models used in advertisers. I mean, if it didn't work, they wouldn't be using them forever right? Which means...we're somewhat to blame.

    I agree completely, I also really hated it when Jennifer Love Hewitt got a lot of flack for what seems like her natural body weight :-/

    Georgina at:

  2. Yeah, I couldn't help how that commercial made me feel. I do think that we respond more to gorgeous women but I think that the definition of gorgeous needs to be changed by the way we react towards things... unfortunately, easier said than done.

  3. Amanda, I saw that same commercial last night (on a different channel) and had a very similar reaction. I'm glad I'm not the only one. Good post.


Gimme Gimme Some Lovin'