Saturday, November 04, 2006

When Doves cry

Today has been a bit of a non-day. I haven't really got anything productive done yet. I've mostly been curled up on the couch, watching my new Little Mermaid DVD and feeling sorry for myself because that sore throat I was talking about has developed into into full blown phlegm attack. I know, nice, right?

Still, I wanted to talk about that Dove ad that's doing the rounds. I've seen it linked a few places, but I can't actually remember where, so sorry to those people who have posted it, because I can't remember who to thank. Anyway, here it is:

I'm so pleased that a company like Dove is talking about the problem of body image, because it feels sometimes like the world is happy to sit back and watch us all try to attain a completely unachievable ideal.

I know I am constantly conscious of 1001 things I think are wrong with my appearance. Talking to some of my friends I wonder if there's a girl in all the Western world who is happy with how she looks and doesn't have a difficult relationship with food.

It feels like we are constantly being lied to just to sell products. This only has 90 calories, this has less than 5% fat, this will increase your metabolism and help you lose weight. But does that make any of those things actually good for us? I know somewhere deep inside me, that the best way to eat is to have a balanced diet, low in refined sugars and saturated fats, but with a balance of all the different food types. But I shy away from it, convinced that it can't be right to eat three meals a day, because surely 3 whole meals will make you fat.

Are carbs good or bad? Is meat beneficial or are we better off eating other subsitutes? Dairy is generally full of fat, but the calcium in it is very good for us. How did the women of the world survive before Ski Fat Free Yoghurts?

This panoply of ideas leaves me confused, hopping from one concept of healthy to another, standing in the aisle of the supermarket for 15 minutes staring at the variety of diet pills and wondering if any of them actually work. If I skip a few meals my body craves sugar and I end up pigging out on a variety of high fat, high sugar snacks. I have also yet to find a form of exercise I really enjoy, apart from dancing, but I feel intimated by the other girls at dance classes with their amazing co-ordination, perfect hair and svelte physiques.

Will we ever be satisfied with being bigger than a size six (US size 2)? (Which, by the way, I have never and will never be a size 6.) Because I see those Dove commercials and I love the message they're giving, but I look at all the curvy women in their underwear and think, "No, I don't want to look like that." Because straight afterwards Kate Moss parades across my screen reviving her skin with a simple application of the latest Rimmel foundation and she looks simply stunning and how can the rest of us ever compete?

So keep it up, Dove. And maybe one day you'll convince the rest of us of what we really, really need to know.


Nicole said...

Ok, seriously though aren't those Dove ads the best? Makes me want to give those Dove execs a big kiss. Wish other companies would catch on too, but I'm sure that's still far away...

Marmite Breath said...

You put it all perfectly, Laura. Well said!

Claire said...

Ok, I screwed up and my last comment got deleted (I'm not good with Blogger) but, what I said was:

I'd never seen that clip before, thanks for posting Laura - and for shedding more light on that great campaign. With girls as young as 6 and 8 being reported as suffering from eating disorders, we need to to bring projects like this to the fore.

You really hit the nail on the head with that post. Cheers x

FTN said...

As a guy, I just want to say that some of those super-skinny creepy-looking models scare me.

I suppose I can't speak for all guys, but I prefer someone who is healthy. That doesn't mean "fat," that just means someone who eats right and in moderation, works out on occasion, takes some vitamins, that sort of thing. The look of a 90-pound heroin addict really doesn't do much for me.

So who puts the pressure on women to look a certain way? "The media"? Men? Other women? Or just women themselves?

starrynite said...

Those are some good questions FTN. Sometimes I do think we just put this pressure on ourselves. A lot of the time it's more about judging ourselves against other women than necessarily thinking that we want to be attractive to men. That can become kind of secondary. It's insane really.