beauty mythunderstanding

at first i was disappointed in dove for watering down a good idea by using models that aren't actually big. then i was upset because the ad campaign is for firming cream. but now i'm pissed about the backlash all this is generating, regardless of how short i think it falls from the mark.

beauty is in the eye of a fashion photographer or hollywood agent. it is apparently not to be toyed with by the likes of a maker of soap. the campaign for real beauty is a soft ball that wields quite a top spin. dove has incited near riots among all kinds of people who are "offended" by images of women who actually eat. dove deigns to suggest that chubby women in underwear have a right to market beauty. and thus, a shitstorm. people were talking even before richard roeper started a frenzy by complaining about the "plump girls baring too much skin".

some ad exec turned pundit weighed in to say that advertising should be "easy; it's not supposed to be too challenging." as if the dove campaign is somewhere in the stratosphere of all those benetton ads that for decades have smacked people in the gut. as if size 6, 8, or 10 women are visually assaulting and mentally jarring like this or this or this. oh yeah, dove is engaging in shock advertising. fuck me.

the dove pr team could not have known how accurate the term "campaign" is for this. we should not be surprised that this may be the mother of all campaigns. but it is hard to believe that we're here again (or still). are we splitting the atom here? didn't the body shop pot-stirring get us anywhere in re-claiming notions of beauty?

the roeper-type mentality would indicate that women of size and shape are apparently tolerable only if left at street level, relatively invisible, blending in with pillars and trees and buildings and whatnot. truth is, big women have you surrounded. you just don't notice as long as we're part of the scenery. heaven forbid we be elevated to billboard level and made to look at. oh but right, you have no problem with people of size. that is, until we're obscuring your pretty view.

roeper is not alone. all sorts of anonymous detractors have made their disgust known: "disgusting", "fat cows", "who ate all the pies", "type ii diabetes" -- such high-brow graffiti and counter-slogan stickers have been flung across the dove pictures, from seattle to new york to london.

all this shit hits me in the skin, thanks to the flab i carry. but more importantly, it hits me in the spirit, because of our collective burden. i can't stand that me and my women are still up against what we're not and where we're not allowed.

wendy wondered if men conceive of this society as one big "roofless playboy mansion" and shot back with a column of her own. commentators are asking if this is about fat versus thin or men versus women or what.

i think it is about men versus women but we have to fight it with asses and wrinkles. because beauty sure the fuck is in the eye of the beholder, and we have to ask whose eye is deciding for the rest of us. we're taught that beauty comes from the inside, but we all know that no the fuck it doesn't. and this campaign confirms it. the backlash says beauty can't come from within - we get it as a gift. but even if we attain it, there's nowhere to go with it. because we live in a britany spearized planet where women are dumbed down and glittered up. where women are nothing. but we can't challenge minds at that level. we can't change the minds of graffiti artists and other haters with high-minded feminist and philosophical thought. i don't want to fault dove or anyone else who tries to expand notions of beauty to a broader geographic space, but how do we orchestrate the campaign?

the only people who will come to any real defense of the campaign are the raging feminists who already get it and the unbeautiful women who are sick of it. and they can't respond to the campaign's given markets. if we're really going to go after the problem, we have to figure out who the target market is. white men with boners who think it's all about what gets them up. who happen to run the show.

so i guess it comes back to fat versus thin. maybe that's all we've got if we're forced to play this thing out within the very sphere we're trying to evolve.

we need to say to the affronted, oh really? your eyes hurt? get the fuck over yourselves. we're not selling this to you. we are insisting it, we'll keep doing it, and we'll thank you to keep your ridiculous comments to yourselves.

we need to ask the affronted, what exactly do you think you have the right to? belittling fat women? oh sure, because nobody likes fat people. that's easy. can you come at us with anything less base?

at the end of the day, it's not about whether or not the trailer park boys think fat isn't beautiful. these guys don't think they are anti women, they think they are anti fat women.

we need to tell the affronted, you do not get to decide what beauty is. we'll take it from here, thanks. nor do you get to define the divisions of how it offends. stop declaring, criticizing, defining, and mocking our space. we already know what you think beauty is. if we didn't, gloria steinem would still be undercover in a bunny costume and queen latifah would still be 250 pounds. did you think we would just sit by and let the hugh hefners of the world dictate the entire planet? he can have his hot tub and barbies. but his mansion WILL have a roof and so too will your arenas of fantasy. you do not get reign of the planet in its entirety. the geography of the beauty myths will have limits, as will our levels of tolerance for the horseshit that roeper and the rest of you shovel.

christ, i suppose this rant is a bit all over the map. all i can really say is this: expect more boys. get your laptops and coffee ready, because this campaign will continue, in whatever fucking form it takes. and you'll need more than a can of spray paint to shut the battle down.


Blogger accidental altruist said...

alls i can say is wheeeeeeeee HAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

10:42 p.m.  

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