Monday, April 15, 2013

Real Beauty isn't just for Pretty, White Women

Dove's Real Beauty Sketches is a touching project about dispelling individual beliefs in perceived appearance flaws.

It is an example of how the impossible media ideal of beauty affects everyone. As much as I like this idea, I couldn't get over the use of predominantly white, conventionally attractive women in the video (and neither could this writer who goes further in-depth on the issue). Sure, it's easy for strangers to describe pretty, white women as pretty, white women; big surprise. And I get that everyone has issues, and that these women's issues are real, but they (we/I) have SO much privilege in this arena. 

Without some old ladies and fat ladies and disabled ladies and ethnically diverse ladies, it comes across as insincere to me. (I’ve only watched the first video in the series.)

Related: I'm trying and failing to formulate a cohesive thought regarding the value of sincere compliments versus the rage-inducing nature of intentional external validation (especially from men). But Alexandra says it better:
"Dove’s version of beauty, however, is more than skin-deep…but not necessarily in a good way. In addition to confirming that ladies should want certain physical traits like “nice thin jaws,” the video also promotes what I’ll call the One Direction Theory of Unknown Beauty (ODTUB). As those little boys sing, “You don’t know you’re beautiful, oh oh, that’s what makes you beautiful.” Part of the allure of the Dove women, similarly, is that they’re unaware of their loveliness: dressed to attract little attention, they don’t tell the artist about their beautiful eyes. As he sketches them, they are the very picture of feminine humility and thus, according to the ODTUB, feminine beauty."

We all need a broader definition of beauty to help us love ourselves and each other in order to live and thrive.

Leonard Nimoy (yes) shot a beautiful, joyful, inspirational photo essay of a full-figured burlesque troupe.

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