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Weekly Awesome 4.17

April 17, 2013

I saw this today when I was out running errands. That’s my kind of graffiti. (Of course, I also like it when they put “HAMMERTIME” on stop signs. That is also my kind of graffiti.) Sometimes I think I live in this bubble of people who are more aware than the general public of the issues we discuss here at TIAW. So to come across something like this in the wild was heartening.

And after the tragedy earlier this week, I need heartening. You know what else helped me? Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s so optimistic about humanity’s future. According to Gene Roddenberry, at some point we get our heads out of our asses and become reasonable and loving towards one another. Ultimately I am optimistic like that, too. But sometimes things get so shitty – like bombs at a marathon, or a string of girls committing suicide because they’ve been bullied about having been raped – that I need to turn to sources outside my head to remind me of the good in the world. And it is there. As Mr. Rogers said, “Look for the helpers.” They are there.

~TIAW on Pinterest and Tumblr.

~So this has been going around this week. A part of Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, a forensic artist was hired to draw women as they see themselves and then as seen by others. The comparisons are, unsurprisingly, quite contradictory. And then this post about Dove’s video has been going around. I’ve long had mixed feelings about this campaign by Dove. On the one hand they’re showing differently-sized women. On the other hand, they are still all nice and smooth and generally conventionally beautiful. And the thing is that Dove still has to sell a product. And the best way to sell a product is to make sure people feel like they need it. And for women to feel like they need it, they shouldn’t feel TOO good about themselves. Possibly more sinisterly, Dove is trying to make it look like they’re totally on your side. Because if you feel just the right amount of not-good-enough AND if you think Dove is on your side about all this media bullshit about how we’re told we have to look, then whose product will you reach for first?

I don’t know if I’m that skeptical, though. I like to believe that there are women who really do get it who are working their asses off on this project and doing the best they can within the parameters they are allowed to work (both from the corporation in charge and the patriarchy in charge). And then I also believe that the more types of bodies we see, the wider our view of beauty will become. And they are the only ones consistently showing differently-sized women. So there is a balance. As long as we can see it for what it actually is – a commercial – I think we can find goodness in it. But you guys? Don’t stop talking. Pick it all apart every time. It’s how we, as women, teach each other to really see what we are up against.

~I love that this woman makes no apologies for her body. I think the fact that this is one of the most embarrassing situations for women is the real problem. If fatness wasn’t so shameful, this wouldn’t be so embarrassing or hurtful. And that’s where I hope we can be someday.
~”I didn’t encourage tutus and tiaras… they just happened.”
~And on the flip side of that story: “You don’t think that will make him funny?” “I sure hope so.” BREAK ALL THE GENDER STEREOTYPES!!!
~Jen over at Epbot sums up bra fittings. Bookmarking all those links for next bra-buying trip.

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7 Responses to “Weekly Awesome 4.17”

  1. Sarah G Says:
    April 18th, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I’ve been asked when I was due when I was not pregnant. I said I wasn’t, and the middle age woman who had asked me apologized profusely. She was clearly embarrassed. I let her know I could understand; the blouse I was wearing hung in such a way it made me look a bit pregnant rather than fat. Her husband responded to my attempt to be gracious, by scolding me and telling me I shouldn’t have worn that shirt, because “see how bad my wife feels now?”

    I really had nothing more to say. Unfortunately, they were potential customers in my office and sat around wordlessly for another 10 minutes before they left (to this day, I have no idea why).

  2. Bonnie (TIAW) Says:
    April 18th, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Wow. That’s, like, ridiculous. That YOU should feel bad that someone ELSE made a faux pas? People are so weird.

  3. Leah Says:
    April 18th, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    You saw differently sized women in that Dove ad? Because I didn’t. In fact, I noticed that every use of the word “fat” was negative and every use of “thin” was positive. I was unimpressed with it.

  4. Mina Says:
    April 18th, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I’m not going to defend business and advertising practices of Dove’s parent companies, and I don’t think their “real beauty” campaign is free of some advertising-related manipulation…but I still liked the forensic artist/sketch video. I can like the video without having to like everything about them and everything they do :)

  5. Bonnie (TIAW) Says:
    April 18th, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    No, not THIS Dove ad, Leah. I’m thinking of this one: In that pin it’s compared to Victoria’s Secret’s “Love My Body” campaign which I don’t even think they TRIED at. It’s still not terribly diverse (as noted in the pin), but it’s definitely got women of sizes that you don’t normally see in ads.

  6. Bird Says:
    April 19th, 2013 at 8:17 am

    I just want to comment regarding the little drops response to the Dove video. I think she’s right on many counts, but…some of the ways the women describe themselves are just automatically lumped into the “negative” category, when I don’t think that is necessarily true. Little drops mentions freckles, for instance. The fact that one woman states that she is getting more freckles as she ages is evidence that she “describes herself in a negative light.” What?! There are no inherently negative words in that statement. Not age, not freckles. I have freckles and I love them and I’m sure there are other women who feel the same. I might have said the same thing about myself in that situation, and I would absolutely not have been “describing myself in a negative light.” Some of the descriptors were implied to be negative in the Dove video itself, some of them are assumed to be negative by little drops. I don’t think that’s entirely fair.

    Also, her favorite description – “eyes that lit up when she spoke and were very expressive” – is not exactly something a person can use to describe themselves unless they regularly have animated conversations with a mirror. Why should the “best” description be something another person, by necessity, has to see and say for you?

  7. Bonnie (TIAW) Says:
    April 19th, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I thought exactly the same thing about the freckles comment, Bird! And I have freckles, too, and I love them. :)

    Good points. Thanks!

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