Many people have complained recently about the constant – and morally-deficient – marketing and skewed societal ideals that our kids are exposed to everyday. Yet aside from parents limiting TV time or controlling what channels their kids watch or magazines they read, few have done anything to actually put a stop to it.
Yet Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, launched in September 2004, has continuously sought to increase self-esteem in women by reevaluating our concept of beauty - and the way the media conditions our daughters to think about their bodies.
Dove’s newest ad, called “Onslaught,” is part of the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, dedicated to changing the way both women and girls understand beauty. The one-minute video, already being touted as a “triumph,” has been featured on the news and was one of the top-viewed videos on YouTube the day it debuted in the U.K.
So it’s powerful, to say the least. And also poignantly true. The video opens with the face of an adorable little girl, smiling for the camera and reminding us all of the innocence of youth. This is followed by a literal onslaught of images, documenting the way the media teaches girls about being thin, sexy, and beautiful through miracle products, fad diets, and plastic surgery. Once you’re sufficiently disgusted by the juxtaposition of these images and that of the little girl, Dove spells out their message: “Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does.”
While Dove is clearly building its own brand name with these campaigns, at least their motive is noble. The Self-Esteem campaign plans to reach 5 million young women by 2010 through different programs, breaking down stereotypes about beauty and changing the way girls and women think about themselves and each other. With resources for both girls and parents online, Dove is dedicated to empowering women in an unprecedented way - with the type of ad a mom can get behind.
It’s time we all rethink what beauty means – and what messages we are giving to our daughters.