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Published:March 15th, 2006 12:11 EST
Campaigning for Real Beauty

Campaigning for Real Beauty

By Tricia Spann

Freckles, wrinkles and age spots symbolize attractiveness? According to Dove, the well known beauty product company, unique physical traits possessed by women of all ages exemplify beauty. In 2004, Dove launched a campaign to challenge beauty stereotypes " and open a forum about beauty and what exactly it is. The chief purpose of the campaign is to change the way women around the world view themselves, particularly their physical appearance. In doing so, Dove hopes to significantly raise women`s confidence and self-worth by posting several ads; on television, billboards and in print. These ads represent the beginning of Dove`s worldwide transformation.

On February 5, 2006, Super Bowl Sunday, a commercial aired featuring a variety of girls who wish to change at least one thing about themselves. Faces of these young women flashed on screen, one after the other, most with sad looks in their eyes and captions across their bodies that read, "Hates her freckles`, "Wishes she were blond` and "Thinks she`s ugly`. In the background, while the girls transformed from insecure caterpillars to confident butterflies, the Girl Scouts of Nassau County Chorus from Long Island, New York sang "True Colors`, an anthem for any girl struggling with self-esteem. A heart-tugging and sentimental commercial, it encouraged viewers to participate in the company`s self-esteem fund. The clever ad, now airing periodically, solicits support for the campaign and remains one of the many public advertisements Dove currently promotes.

Among those advertisements is a group of barely clothed real " women showcasing their real-women bodies. Included in the revealing ads, initially displayed in mid 2005, is a kindergarten teacher, a manicurist and an administrative assistant, all much different from the usual toothpick thin, size two models we see in the media. The pictures and commercials expose the real-women models who stand in a line with bubbly smiles, not one attempting to hide her imperfections. The message Dove wants to send, Stand firm and celebrate your curves ", is clearly stated in the rare promos.

With Dove promoting one unique ad after another, the company hopes to alter the way women see their bodies and commence a feminine celebration of diversity, uniqueness and curves. On the corporation`s official website it states that two-thirds of women globally agree the media sets impossible and unrealistic standards of beauty. Dove supports this statement with their recent worldwide study. The company claims only 13% of women are content with their body weight and 2% of these women, interviewed around the world, consider themselves beautiful. Dove further states that the constant image of models in the media is one of the reasons why so many women feel insecure about their physical appearance.

Girls are seeing 400 to 600 media images a day. These images do not look like them. And we are finding a lot of shocking statistics. For example, between 50 to 70% of girls who are normal weight believe they are overweight. And more than one out of four girls feel that the media pressures them to have the perfect body. " Spoken by Dr. Nancy Etcoff, author of Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty, and a research collaborator and consultant for Dove since 2003, she continues her statement by saying, The media is one influence. Families are another. It`s important for women and girls to discuss these issues honestly and to support one another. "

And it seems Dove is gaining support from viewers, including Oprah, who openly promotes the campaign. During her show, the ads run in between commercials with Oprah encouraging viewers to support the crusade. There is even a special place for Dove on her official website.

On Dove`s website viewers praise the commercials. One writes, I think the commercials are amazing. Every little girl has had those thoughts cross her mind about what she doesn`t like about herself. " Other spectators, however, express slightly different views. One writes, I think this campaign is beautiful but what is even more important is assuring them they do not need to be able to buy Dove beauty products or any others to be truly beautiful. "

Even if the promotion supports raising women`s confidence by purchasing Dove products, the campaign`s objective, as stated by Dove, remains the same. The company wishes to change narrow oppressive stereotypes of beauty into healthier, all-embracing, unrestricted views.

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