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real beauty? [Sep. 30th, 2004|04:32 pm]
body positive

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[keryx]
I thought the statistics in this article about Dove's "campaign for real beauty" were both fascinating and very, very sad. Just to think that that many women a) recognize that ideals are bizarre and distorted and b) still think they're not beautiful. I wonder what definitions they were using?

I actually do kinda think I'm beautiful most of the time (and it took a long time to get here), and I hope you think the same of yourselves. In a sort of cheesy way [ETA: which I almost managed to explain in my comments to cavlec below].

Also, if you're interested, you can go and check out the campaign for real beauty site. It's a little unsettling that a cosmetics company is talking about "real" beauty (it's kinda like using empowerment to sell cigarettes). What do you think about that?

P.S. - the website is a bit clunky; it's very domineering, resizing your windows and overriding browser settings and stuff.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: peregrin8
2004-09-30 01:50 pm (UTC)
Eh. I don't see why it's necessary for me to consider myself beautiful. Men don't seem to be any less empowered by not thinking of themselves as things of beauty. For me, a big part of the not-hating-my-body effort is in not valuing my body on a decorative level. I feel more empowered and happier when I'm not thinking of that at all, not caring how I look on the outside; rather, doing things to be strong and healthy and intellectually on-track.
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[User Picture]From: peregrin8
2004-09-30 01:57 pm (UTC)
[clapping!]

But I wanted to be the evil twin!
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[User Picture]From: keryx
2004-09-30 02:01 pm (UTC)
Hmm. I actually qualify those things as "beauty". So we're having a semantic argument, if we're arguing at all. :)
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[User Picture]From: peregrin8
2004-09-30 02:05 pm (UTC)
You might; I seriously doubt the women interviewed by Dove soap do. They break it down by "physical attractiveness;" "facial attractiveness;" "body weight and shape."
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[User Picture]From: keryx
2004-09-30 02:10 pm (UTC)
I wonder if "who gives a rat's ass?" and "bite me, evil cosmetics asshats" were answers on that survey?

Cause that would be interesting - how many women think they're "ugly" by these standards and don't give a damn?
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[User Picture]From: peregrin8
2004-09-30 02:24 pm (UTC)
yeah!

OK, "bite me, evil cosmetics asshats" is my new favorite thing.
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[User Picture]From: peregrin8
2004-09-30 02:09 pm (UTC)
oh yeah and we're totally not arguing. :-) we're discussing!
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[User Picture]From: keryx
2004-09-30 01:58 pm (UTC)
I see beautiful as a very different animal than, say "sexy", though - as basically the essence of I ROCK. It's not an external thing or even any sort of value judgement so much as a fine appreciation of one's... oneness, I guess. Like comfort in one's skin. Although, what does 'beauty' mean anyhow?

I totally knew you'd say this, by the way. And you probably totally knew I'd say what I said. And... well, you know.
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[User Picture]From: peregrin8
2004-09-30 01:59 pm (UTC)
oh hellyeah! Nice post!


A quote I stole off a different e-board:

"If your empowerment is all based on how young and hot you are, where does that leave you? With a certainty of diminishing empowerment." --Helios, on girlbomb
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[User Picture]From: keryx
2004-10-01 07:34 am (UTC)
That quote is the best argument against that heinous "girlism" movement I've ever heard. :)
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[User Picture]From: snidegrrl
2004-10-01 08:08 pm (UTC)
Holy le crap, I want to make a giant poster of that and put it on my forehead.
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[User Picture]From: firecat
2004-10-01 01:16 am (UTC)
It's totally unsettling that a cosmetics company is championing it. And I think the whole thing ends up reinforcing the idea that beauty is important, is something that women should be spending energy on. I think maybe the cosmetics companies are starting to worry that if beauty standards become too high, more women will drop out of the enhancement program altogether. If they champion a broader definition of beauty, then they can suck more women into it.

I am delighted that you think you are beautiful, however you are defining that.

I don't use the word for myself. I do sometimes like the way I look. But mostly I don't think about how I look except in a basic way of "making sure my clothes don't clash and fit OK." There are a lot of other things more important to me - intelligence, compassion, creativity, etc.
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[User Picture]From: firecat
2004-10-01 09:26 am (UTC)
[*claps with delight*]

[*friends you, and your little blog too*]
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[User Picture]From: keryx
2004-10-01 07:33 am (UTC)
It seems unbelievably duplicitous for a cosmetics company to come out saying they know what "real" beauty is. I hadn't thought of it in terms of increasing women's participation in the beauty industry (or shoring up their store of consumers) as you mentioned, but what bothers me is that beautiful on every level could come to be something we let the industry decide for us. Which, if people bought into it, would mean your whole life was about living up to a certain standard. And now that I think about it, that's what Oprah is about, isn't it?

On the plus side, I think there's a strong possibility that, if Dove's tactic is to bring women back to the fold after they've been alienated by ridiculous appearance standards, that the talk about "real" beauty will actually just serve to create a few more women pissed off by this industry and determined to define beautiful and/or acceptable for themselves.
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[User Picture]From: firecat
2004-10-01 09:31 am (UTC)
but what bothers me is that beautiful on every level could come to be something we let the industry decide for us. Which, if people bought into it, would mean your whole life was about living up to a certain standard. And now that I think about it, that's what Oprah is about, isn't it?

Yuppers!

And in fact that's precisely what industry, or advertising anyway, is constantly attempting to do.

Bil Watterson (creator of Calvin & Hobbes) has had some really incisive things to say about this. I can't find my most favorite, where the father suggests that pitching his junk mail makes him a dangerous radical. But here's one:
CALVIN: "Here's a cool guy saying nobody tells him what to do. He does whatever he wants and he buys this product as a reflection of that independence."
HOBBES: "So basically, this maverick is urging everyone to express his individuality through conformity in brand-name selection?"
CALVIN: "Well, it sounded more defiant the way *he* said it."
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[User Picture]From: snidegrrl
2004-10-01 08:11 pm (UTC)
Wow, I see what you mean. It's like this; my ways of battling the beauty standard and its application to women can be:

"Fuck off, I'm ugly, so treat me like you'd treat an ugly person and if it's different then fucking look in the mirror instead of looking at me and making a judgement..."

or

"Fuck off, I'm hot, and if you don't agree then take a short leap."

depending on the audience and the time of day or something. :)
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