At first glance the Dove Beauty Campaign seems like a revolutionary viewpoint on beauty ideals. But a little scrubbing and the positive bubble surrounding the idea pops.
The Dove Beauty Campaign and other movements like it fall back on society’s idea that women need to have their looks validated in order to be confident humans. It is perpetuating girls reliance on their physical appearance as a key value contributing to their self-esteem levels. We live in a world where almost half of all girls aged 3 to 6 worry about being fat. Children under the age of 12 are twice as likely to be hospitalized for an eating disorder than they were in 2005. Young girls are worrying about their appearance, even before puberty. Instead of telling girls that they are beautiful, we need campaigns that impress on girls and women that it doesn’t matter if they are beautiful or not.
“Fifteen to eighteen percent of girls under twelve now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and twenty-five percent of young American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they’d rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.”
– Lisa Bloom in How To Talk To Little Girls for the Huffington Post
Lisa Bloom goes on to say that, “Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything.” Society needs to move away from the idea that women need to be beautiful to be worth something, especially because men are not held to the same grooming standards.
In conclusion, while I’m sure the intentions behind the Dove Beauty Campaign and others like it are well-meaning, movements such as that one simply are still stuck in the same cycle of women needing to look good in order to feel fulfilled. The Dove Beauty Campaign is relying on the fact that women need to be beautiful to be self confident or respected within society, when really they should be judged on the quality of their character. As one tumblr user put it, “I wish self-esteem campaigns would focus less on ‘everyone is beautiful’ and more on ‘who the fuck cares if you are beautiful or not.'” Other people such as another tumblr user agree, “If you are a woman, everything revolves around whether or not someone wants to fuck you. Instead of addressing ‘all bodies are beautiful’ how about, ‘it is not necessary to be universally fuckable’?”
If only the world was like Roald Dahl wrote it to be,
Join us next time where we call out victim blaming.