Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Shameless Marketing Campaign or Real Good for Girls?

I just got done watching the Super Bowl and was struck by Dove's "Campaign for Real Beauty" launched at young girls. Lots of multiethnic photos of cute, quite young girls with large doe eyes and a fund raising campaign (for the Girl Scouts) because over "92% of girls" don't like something about their appearance. According to whom? Where's the data? And what, Dove's gonna come to their rescue? Oh, PLEASE! And how much did this COST? ($2.4 million or so for 30 seconds?). I dare say that ALL of us, EVERY ONE, doesn't like something about our appearance, but we learn to live with it, we learn to accept ourselves for who we are rather than what we look like. And what about BOYS? (Note that not a SINGLE boy was shown in the ad.... why, because boys don't usually buy facial creams and beauty products! God knows that acne tormented me when I was young, but it certainly helped me understand that my body was changing and I knew with perserverance, its scourge would pass. Why? Because I knew and trusted my parents and friends who helped me through this time in my life. No Dove commercial made that happen! My friends were still friends, even if I had a zit on my forehead. And here's the deal... I HAVE a daughter. (She hasn't seen this ad, at least yet, she was playing with friends at the time). But the REAL issues is we're all human and the human body, ALL of 'em, are miraculous, incredible machines that are our very being and certainly need to be respected, and cherished, and yes, held in high esteem, but not because DOVE is gonna make it so, I'm perfectly capable of doing this. Please Dove, leave my daughter alone!

And if you're for the campaign (and I know many might disagree with me), then at least donate to the Boy Scouts of America, too.



Mart Kooij said...

Dr. Wes,

Dame Judy Dench was refused interviews for her new movie “Mrs. Henderson” on certain major networks because she was TOO OLD - she didn’t fit the demographics for the advertisers. Can you imagine that? Reading your thoughts on the Dove commercial is what brought Judy Dench to my mind, it is simply more of the same, except that one appeals to the young and the other dismiss the older. This is a real bug-a-boo for me. When a woman ages she simply becomes invisible. Dame Judy Dench is a wonderful 71 year old English actress who clearly has made a difference. She would have been an asset on any TV show. She is smart and has a lot of class, but instead she is simply of no commercial value do to her age. I like to think that Judy Dench and the Dove commercial are not a reflection on the values of our society, but I am afraid I might be wrong.

PS. Now, I also want to say something in response to your previous article. Dr. Helen’s story is very compelling and a real eye opener to the problems of heart attacks in women of all ages. Her story unfortunately is so familiar to many of us. So much suffering could be prevented if only medical research and doctors weren’t so dismissive about woman’s health, particularly their heart health. Medical research concerns me for it is still too focused on the male. The female heart is not a little man’s heart nor is our vascular system just a smaller version of man’s etc. etc. What do you think?


DrWes said...

It's good to see that there is a real interest in women's heart disease. Unfortunately, the model in medical school has been one of "from cell to bedside." In other words, the body is simply made of these building blocks of cells that interact with each other and the outside world in a certain understandable and intellectually comprehensible way to come together and produce this organ or body structure or being. Yet if you ask a doctor to explain the influences of estrogren, progesterone, and testosterone on a cell, you'll receive a blank stare by most, simply because this was never taught or, perhaps, studied. There remains LOTS we don't know about the human body, be it man OR woman. While I commend the WISE study for bringing gender differences in heart disease to our attention, we must remain ever-vigilant on the political forces that sway the distribution of research grant dollars from one gender to the other. Given the increased proportion of women in the health care field and the declining graduation rate of men from high schools and colleges, I suspect women will play a larger and larger role in health care in all respects in the future... and that might be a good thing in one way, but concerning that the US hasn't yet found an answer to the failing education of our young men today.


Shelby said...

I would both agree and disagree on the Dove commercial, but ultimately I am for the campaign. Regardless of the ulterior motives, it puts images of healthy, normal women in front of people instead of everything else we get. The "other side" isn't going to stop putting up their images of airbrushed, unattainable bodies, so at least this shows women as they really are.

Your daughter is lucky to have such an active, aware parent, but unfortunately many kids do not. Take a look at an elementary school playground and see how many little girls are dressed like hoochie mamas. I find that very disturbing.

Is the Dove campaign exploitative? Yes, I believe it is. But I also believe that all commercial advertising is exploitative to both genders and all ages and races. I don't see the Dove campaign as any worse than, say, a Nike shoe campaign starring sports stars sending the message that little boys need to have $200 shoes to be cool. It does bother me--both counts--but I have to come down on the side of the Dove campaign and applaud them for showing beautiful women as they really are.

And yes, my husband, the Eagle Scout, is active in his younger brother's Boy Scout troop and we do support the BSA. I agree it's a great cause and you've made an excellent point there.

libby's mom said...

Dear Wilmette Doc:

I was a superbowl widow so I missed the Dove commercial on behalf of Girl Scouts. But, I am much more disgusted with the Girl Scouts who "sell out" their girls.
Have you seem some of their recruiting images? It seems like they have the Modonna complex--empowering girls,ie sexy is powerful.

The National Girl Scouting organization is responsible for this "ultra liberal" sexy girl advertising.

Sadly, girls scouts will never be 'of equal value" to Boy Scouts because GS don't subscribe to "achievement" and heirarchy and advancement based on merit.(oohh,too "male")

My daughter enjoys participating in Boy Scouts "informally" through service projects. Better she be a second class citizen in the Boy Scouts, than a Madonna in the Girl Scouts.

The 4H group is a great (co-ed) organization for girls. I see the girls showing their horses and dogs and not worrying about their "image".

Great blos.

Wilmette Lab mama