Monday, August 22, 2005

Don't hate you because you're beautiful

Are doughy white girls being exploited by corporate America?

New ad campaigns by Dove and Nike that feature "real women" are stirring things up, which is exactly what the soap and shoemakers want.. so they can sell more soap and shoes. The Dove ads, which tout a line of firming lotions, feature women in their underwear. What makes the ads different is that the women are anywhere from size 6 to a 12. The Nike ads feature close ups of body parts and headlines like, "My butt is big." ("My butt is big/Like the letter C/And ten thousand lunges/Have made it rounder.")

Okay, when you look past the fact that the average American woman is a size 14 and that the rhyming in the Nike ads sucks, you come back to the simple fact that it's fashion advertising. And women, no matter how thin and beautiful -- or larger and "real" -- they are, always seem to look in the mirror and find their little flaws. The ad cats know that. That's why the supermodel waifs, mammoth-breasted Victoria's Secret girls and airbrush artists get so much work.

Dove and Nike know that and, in their own way, they're still playing on the insecurity factor. Instead of "Wow, that Uma chick is hot. Maybe if I buy that lotion, my skin will look like hers," the new "real women" ads seem to promote a message of, "Wow, that girl looks kinda like me, except she's happy. Maybe if I buy that new Dove firming cream, I won't hate my body."

When you look at it that way, the "real women" ads are kind of insidious. (Of course, that may be just a guy's rationale for more ads with hot skinny chicks.)

In any case, I don't get it. I don't see an ad with Marcus Shackenberg or whatever his name is and think, "I want to be like him." I see an ad with golfer John Daley in and say, "I AM like him. Hmmm. What should I have for dinner?" (DWG Weight: 232 lbs.)

13 comments:

Übermilf said...

It's hard to keep your head together with the endless stream of propaganda.

I continually have to tell myself: eat healthy, exercise appropriately, and whatever size I am, I am. This is about health, not about the look du jour.

I can tell you, however, as someone who frequents the ladies' locker room at the YMCA, that skinny women don't look that great with their clothes off. Just so you know.

sammie said...

It's easy to say that the way u eat is more about health than the way that you look...but realistically the stigma on looks is what makes most of us decide what we eat and don't eat. I mean, if I'm trying to drop a few lbs than I certainly am not going to reach for that donut.
I think these new ads are geared to make women feel better...but honestly as a woman, even I prefer to see "hot" women over everyday women in their undies. Call me shallow. If I want mediocre I can look in the mirror..
Though we all know, even the women on billboards have flaws and are airbrushed...

American Girl said...

My solution: I pray to the airbrush gods - that they come down from their circuits in the sky to smooth my skin, plump my breasts, and slim my thighs, just as they did for the "special, real ladies" in the ads.

On an interesting note, a few years back I read a book called "In Her Shoes," about two sisters - one fat, one skinny. Just saw a preview for the book-turned-movie last night and you know what? The fat sister is just about my size, skinny sister is Cameron Diaz. Depressing to think what Hollywood and the advertising world consider fat, aka real.

Übermilf said...

I agree, and I think that's the point I was trying to make.

At age 35 and after 2 kids (and two miscarriages) I am not going to ever, ever look like a model. If I aim for that, I will be disappointed.

In fact, I can't aim to look like anyone but myself, at my healthiest. If that's not good enough for the people looking at me, they'll just have to get over it.

I am not obese, and I can look pretty good in clothes (if I wear those lycra suck-it-in things). Yet I finished off the leftover candy from my daughter's birthday party, even though diabetes runs in my family, and I've gotten out of the habit of exercising. These food addictions and bad habits are what I have to fight, without trying to look like an anorexic 18 year-old as an added burden.

The Megan said...

I like the ads personally. I think the reason society tends to prefer the ads with these tiny waif chicks on them is because that is what has been ingraned in our minds since forever. And there are A LOT of men out there who prefer women w/ a little meat on their bones... In my few experiences w/ seeing skinny chicks nekkid, I can't imagine being attracted to that, but that's just my 2 cents... These women in these ads don't look FAT, they look HEALTHY.

kilgore trout said...

>skinny women don't look that great with their clothes off. Just so you know.

it's all a matter of perspective i suppose, because as someone who frequents the ladies' locker room at the YMCA in their dreams, i have to say that skinny women don't look all that bad...

Broom said...

Ah, another discussion of the Dove ads. Those Madison Ave. boys must be loving all this attention.

Attractiveness is absolutely in the eye of the beholder. Some people like skinny skinny. Some people like skinny. Some people like decidedly not skinny. So why are these women being referred to as "mediocre" as opposed to the "hot" women?

I have come around to the way of thinking that says these ads are pretty hypocritical, in that they're selling *firming* lotion. If we all love ourselves so much, why do we need to firm our skin? What the hell is so wrong with our skin now? But I still appreciate the small drop in the ocean that these (and, perhaps, the Nike ads, though I haven't seen much of those yet) represent. Size 14 and up? Not yet. Oh, and any body hair to speak of? Not so much. But, you can't see these women's ribs, and that's a start.

DR68 said...

Skinny, fat somewhere in between, I just like the thought of seeing women naked...most guys are not that judgemental...the ladies are a lot more critical of themselves and each other.

You know the old joke - two women show up at a party wearing the same thing and they are sworn enemies from that time on...two guys show up wearing the same shirt and they are likely friends for life.

The DWG said...

I agree with DR68. We're guys. It really doesn't matter.

We look at a woman...we have a brief thought...and then we look at the next woman. It's almost like the way they teach you to continuously check your mirrors while you're driving. You just keep your eyes moving.

kilgore trout said...

don't they know that they all look like ursula andress/cheryl tiegs/elle mcpherson/liv tyler/jenna jameson/katie holmes when the lights are low and things have gotten horizontal?

Well you know son, you just can't figure, first thing you know, you're gonna pull that trigger, and it's no wonder your reason goes bad, jelly roll will drive you stone mad...

Knitty Kitty said...

thanks for visiting, and please come by again, the dove campaign and the nike campaign are just an ateempt to pretend that they accept these women, by saying they aren't fat. But in the end they are just trying to advertise to "fat girls"

~The Goofy Ass Chick said...

I like the ads. They may not have an affect on adults now, but I like the idea of it having an impact on the young girls. Teenage girls are forcefed beauty and being thin. I like that there are campaigns featuring people like their moms and people they know.

Lady Luck said...

I like the ads as well. Women have been seeing size 2 for so long in the ads that they have lost all sense of reality.

I am a proud size 10/12! I am fit and healthy and would NEVER want to be a size 2 for any reason!

Way to go Nike and Dove!