The pressure of beauty


From a young age being a woman is linked to being “beautiful”, now what is beauty… and is it even worth the waste of time, energy, happiness, and life…(I mean this video makes me sick thinking my little girl one day will have to experience that kind of harassment) Thanks to Disney films, and fairy tails of a beautiful princesses being saved by a knight in shinning armor, young women start to long for unrealistic beauty and almost impossible to find love, leading to issues with self-esteem and the endless pursuit of beauty.

This add is meant to piss you off and bring up feelings within you to act(to buy dove), but what is ironic is that dove is a company that sells beauty products to women. They are trying to break down traditional and false ideas of what women look like, and show that the people we see in adds and on tv are nothing like most of us while at the same time encouraging us to buy their products. Ironic?

This is all part of the “Campaign for Real Beauty” which launched in September 2004 with a much talked-about ad campaign featuring real women whose appearances are outside the stereotypical norms of beauty. The campaign has been going since 2004 and has had serval phases each with a different focus related to breaking down the limited idea of beauty found in the western world. Dove claims they listen to real women and have a global conversation about how beauty is defined, “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”

Here are the results taken from the Dove website:
“In 2011, Dove® released the findings of its largest global study to date on women’s relationship with beauty—The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited. The study revealed that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful, and that anxiety about looks begins at an early age. In a study of over 1,200 10-to-17-year-olds, a majority of girls, 72%, said they felt tremendous pressure to be beautiful. The study also found that only 11% of girls around the world feel comfortable using the word beautiful to describe their looks, showing that there is a universal increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls’ confidence as they grow older. Though Dove® efforts have moved the needle in a positive direction, there is more to be done.”

Here is a short film, Evolution, depicting the transformation of a real woman into a model and promoting awareness of how unrealistic perceptions of beauty are created.


The program has reached over 8 million girls and wants to reach 15 million by 2015, with our help (by buying their products) Pretty good marketing if you ask me.

In 2010 A Bold New Vision: The Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem was started which provides women everywhere with opportunities to mentor the next generation and celebrate real beauty.
Take a look as these other Dove commercial which I find to run the opposite direction of those that promote their self-esteem campaign and real beauty campaign. It is odd that Dove pushes for a wider definition of beauty but still uses adds that feature a stereotypical image of beauty, these adds are recent of the past few years while the campaign was ongoing.

Even use boys face these images, though we do not publicly express those feelings of insecurity we have about our lacking of manliness(we can not all be David Beckham) we still have them. Men go to the gym to look like the images they see, we take pills and drink powders to try and reach the male version of beauty but only for us it’s not socially acceptable to talk about our feelings when we feel like we are failing to reach that unrealistic goal set for us by the media. Here are some lines from one of my favorite song by The Belle Brigade, the song is called Losers, “There will always be someone better then you, even if your the best so stop the competition or we will all end up loser. I’m ashamed I ever tried to be higher then the rest, but brother I am not alone, We’ve all tried to be on top of the world some how, because we have all been loser.” </p>

The ideal Man and the ideal women (what ever that may be), is not who we are. We decide what we are, taking the power back from the media and placing it in your own hands is the path towards accepting the “flaws” that make you the man or women you are proud to be.

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About MIKE JAMES

Seeking the world's Truths one at a time.
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One Response to The pressure of beauty

  1. When I see these ads I think of the Marxist dialectic brought out by the Frankfurt School theorists when they talked about “The Culture Industry”. The Marxist dialectic is that capitalism always includes within itself it’s own opposite – that’s why capitalism eventually leads to socialism (or so Marx thought). The Culture Industry said that whatever is on the periphery of capitalism will eventually be absorbed by it.

    If unrealistic beauty expectations are the result of marketing, then the antidote to that would be to opt out of traditional definitions of beauty. Capitalism then completes the dialectic by reabsorbing that part on the periphery and selling it back to us. Hence we wind up with commercials that are about commercials and beauty products that are like anti-beauty products, which apparently makes them even more “real” and the women who buy them even more beautiful then then women who buy traditional beauty products. And on it goes like a serpent swallowing its tail. You can’t win.

    If you want to get real depressed try and read Adorno, but take it easy. His stuff is heavy.

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