Early this year (2015), Dove released footage of their latest "Choose Beautiful" campaign. I awoke that morning to find my Twitter and Facebook feed full of shares and activity heralding the success of the campaign. I was brimming with anticipation and excitement as I braced myself to watch the video. Unfortunately, as the video ended I felt sad and frustrated.
Now don't get me wrong. I understand the sentiments of the campaign. They want us to buy more beauty products... I mean... they want to broaden definitions of beauty. The grand vision of the multinational cosmetics brand is to change our mental associations with the word beautiful so we can start to see ourselves as beautiful in more than one way. Although this sounds great in theory in my opinion the campaign has no longevity and overall it's sentimental crap!
Let me tell you why.
As women we have a complicated history with the word beautiful. If we were to seriously buy into the message of the campaign then by waking up each morning and choosing to see ourselves as beautiful we would be liberating our minds of misogynist ideals imposed on our subconscious for generations AND be empowering our individuality and unique identities. My view is that any changes felt, emotional or ideological, are likely to be fleeting and superficial. Dove's approach is clichéd, sentimental and ultimately misguided.
The problem of the campaign is the campaign itself. By participating in it we unconsciously reinforce cultural norms. Ironically the promotion of the choice of beautiful versus average keeps us shackled to the notion of beauty -- internal beauty, external beauty and beauty in it's all its guises and forms. Herein lies the root of the problem. Preoccupation with beauty!
Beauty is not bad and in essence there is nothing wrong with the concept of beautiful. Beauty is universal - it is in the world around us, in nature, and in all human beings everywhere both men AND women. However at the level of women's identity, preoccupation with 'beautiful' is limiting on many levels.
It is limiting because it keeps us firmly in the pigeon hole created by the culture we live in. The campaign attempts to reshape hole and change a few of the internal constructs but it ultimately keeps us operating from within the same hole. We need to get out of this hole if we are to create any real and lasting change.
To do this it is important that we change the rhetoric. We need to inspire women to define themselves in completely new and different ways. We have to create a new landscape that offers more than limiting constructs of what we are already familiar with i.e. 'average' or 'beautiful'. We need to move away from limiting language and dialogue to make a real and lasting difference to the evolution of our identities as women.
So with that in mind -- Screw You Dove! I don't choose beautiful...
I choose strong
I choose compassionate
I choose confident
I choose sexy
I choose powerful
I choose brave
I choose loving
I choose fierce
I choose fearless
I choose choice
What do you choose? Tell us in the comment box