I use it, not because of their “real beauty” campaign (as I never really felt that the campaign was as legit as it could be) but because I honestly like the soap. Plain ol’ unscented Dove soap. The advertisements don’t lie: it doesn’t leave some kind of weird, waxy feeling behind. I can get behind that. I don’t want to wash myself, get out of the shower, dry off, and then feel dirty and gross again because of soap residue.
But still, “Real Beauty?” How much can such an ad campaign really subvert anything when it is created and paid for by people who want us to buy what they are selling?
Yes, it is good that Dove says that I and other women are “real” and beautiful. But Dove is still selling a definition of beauty, and the idea that using their products is a part of that beauty. The ad campaign is supposed to be liberating… And yet, when I wash with their soap, the only thing I really feel liberated from is dirt.
So yeah, the campaign has always been a sort of “meh” thing for me.
And then I saw this article on the way in which Dove Canada is truly being subversive.
And I realized that, actually, they aren’t just talking the talk, they are walking the walk. And there are a LOT of ways in which we can walk the walk.
A lot of them are listed here. I think Mr. Urbina has done a great job with this list, but I’d highly recommend ignoring the comments. I look at this and see a man that really respects the fight, women, and the women and his fellow men who are fighting.
The best suggestion, on his list, I think is this:
98. Turn magazines that promote sexism and unhealthy body image backwards at your local supermarkets and newsstands. One of my friends offered me this piece of advice. When you’re out shopping, turn or completely cover magazines that promote sexist and unhealthy messages to women and men. People are bound to wonder what you’re doing. It’s a very creative way of drawing attention and inviting people to have dialogues around feminism and the media.
That is a golden piece of advice, I would say, since it is one, active (it is something we all can DO), and two, it is subversive. I plan on doing this sort of thing more often when I’m at a store. I don’t think I will stop with women’s magazines either. I often find the overly buffed-up guys depicted on “fitness” magazines targeting men to be just as demeaning and potentially emotionally damaging because, of course, those bodies are as unrealistic as the heavily Photoshopped images of women.
It doesn’t matter if its Photoshop or steroids, it serves no one to promote images of physical states that can only be reached either through the above sort of enhancements, or by only 1% of the population.
Body liberation is for all. So, thank you Dove for finally finding a way to truly subvert the Photoshopping madness perpetrated by magazine advertisements and other, similar images. Even if the way in which you have subverted this madness is fleeting, the point will still be made.
Subvert, subvert, subvert! At the end of the day, that is the only way we can truly change things, and not just for fatties. Its only when we change the world for everyone that we truly free the world.
Body liberation isn’t just about looks, it is about everything physical. Our bodies, our minds, our sexuality… these are all things that should be treated with respect and dignity by others no matter what. We are more than our shapes, we are more than our size. We are more than what others perceive to be our health, and we are more than just a list of “risk factors.” We are all people.
We can do this. And, incredibly, Dove may actually be helping!