In Praise of ... Dove???

All right, I never thought I'd spend the precious real estate of my beloved Huffington Post blogging a love letter to a soap company, but after spending the past week and a half traveling around the country, I simply have to say that the people in the marketing department of the company that makes Dove soap are my new heroes.

Yes, yes, I know, I should never commend any advertising strategy because in the end companies only do things if they think it's going to move their product and make them a noseful of money. But the fact that their new billboards and bus stop posters for their "firming cream" features real women with real curves proudly wearing only their underwear is something I feel is cause for celebration.

I don't know about the rest of you but I've found the recent trend in what's considered attractive as far as women go in this country to be really boring, not to mention at about a five-year-old's taste level. The fact that teens and twenty-somethings (oh, KIDS these days!!!) seem to have decided over the past several years that the Barbie doll-looking Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson are the very definition of female beauty has left me standing on the sidelines scratching my head for a while now. Sure, they're very pretty girls, but they literally look to me like they've been molded out of bronze-colored polyurethane. Like I did with that really pretty blond-haired teacher I had in second grade, I guess I could muster up a crush on the most obviously pretty female in my school if I had to. But I've never quite understood why guys in their teens, twenties, and beyond seem to wax so poetic over the Britneys and Jessicas of the world. Add in the models who show up in the rash of men's magazines these days and it leaves me wishing I had bought stock in an airbrush company.

And then along comes Dove, with their posters of regular sized women posed both sexily and absolutely proud of their bodies, and I suddenly feel like a great weight has been lifted off our country, if only for a few minutes. I recently heard a psychologist say that while men enjoy looking at pictures of skinny women, it seems that a majority of men would rather spend their quality contact time with women who have, well, a bit of meat on their bones. I'm not talking about unhealthy amounts of weight, since everybody should try to keep him or herself in shape and shouldn't ever try to find excuses for being obese. I'm just talking about body types, as in any woman who doesn't happen to have the bone structure to allow her to wear a size 2. I don't say this to suddenly turn the tables against thin women as if this was the beginning of some Twilight Zone episode. I'm just saying that it's really nice that somebody in the advertising industry was able to convince their clients that sexiness in an ad doesn't always have to feature women with "perfect" bodies.

I hope I'm not coming off sounding like a guy who's looking at women like objects. That's not my intention, believe me (besides, my wife would kill me if I did). I'm just happy to see somebody in the corporate world admitting that attractiveness doesn't always have to be dictated to us by 15-year-old boys. If only Hollywood would now come along for the ride. (The surest way to end a pitch meeting in LA is to tell them you want the lead female character to be a little "zaftig" - the look you get from the development executives is usually somewhere between "I'm sorry, I couldn't have just hear you correctly" and "Oh, I didn't realize you smoked crack.")

So, good work, Dove! If I knew what firming cream was, I'd buy a bottle just as a way of saying thanks. Hey, who knows? Maybe I'll buy one anyway. My hinder could use a little toning up.