Thursday, September 20, 2018

Beauty Redefined

by Stephanie Michele (writer), Venice, October 18, 2006


I have spent over 10 years in advertising and marketing. I know all of the tricks and tactics used to entice people to buy products. Advertising is a necessary evil, however it is not a stretch to believe the general population would feel better if they didn’t have television and print ads trying to convince them they need a certain product to look or feel beautiful. You really have to be a savvy consumer to decipher through fact and promotional hype to know what products are best for you.

If you are a woman you have to be both savvy and careful that you don’t fall into the trap of rating your level of attractiveness based on women used in advertising campaigns. Take it from a woman who has seen a Victoria Secret catalog before retouch. I am not saying these women are not beautiful; they are incredibly beautiful however they are not perfect. Skilled makeup artists are used on the set of every professional print and video shoot. Photo and video retouch is done to every piece of advertising that we see. The same is true for the movies and shows we watch on TV. If you try to measure up to these images in your real life, you are destined to have low self esteem that no amount of purchasing products will overcome. Low self esteem prevents inner beauty from growing which is often the most important factor in whether or not we can perceive ourselves as being attractive overall.

I have a strong admiration for the consumer brand Dove, known for a simple bar soap, Dove has expanded their product line to include body and hair care products. Their recent advertising campaign used women of all shapes and sizes. Most advertisers considered this a bold move because they believe no one wants to associate the use of a product with average looking images. Do they really believe we are that naïve to think using any product will dramatically change anything about us? Regardless, Dove choices to take an honest approach in hopes they can elevate self esteem in women of all ages and backgrounds. On their website,( they show a video of a model before makeup, all the way through final print. Whether you are a man or woman, I encourage you to watch it and read some of the statistics on the site. For me, the most alarming is hearing 70% of girls aged 15 to 17 avoid normal daily activities because they are uncomfortable with how they look.

The fashion industry is not void in the weight it carries, or rather the lack of weight it presents at the standard in which we measure beauty by. In an industry where eating disorders are the norm, organizers of Milan’s Fashion Week made a courageous move this year when they banned using unnaturally skinny models in their fashion shows. Models had to have a BMI (body mass index) of 18 or over to be used in the show. This stance was admirable but didn’t do much to pursued designers and other fashion capitals to follow.

Images of external beauty will continue to change and evolve. Heidi Klum likes to say on Project Runway, “One day you are in and the next day you are out,” however I like to believe real beauty is not as fleeting as we are lead to believe. Without even trying, all women have an indefinable allure that is uniquely their own. When you look towards history you will see nothing has been painted, photographed or sculptured more than the image of a woman - women of all shapes, sizes, colors and ages. Whether you think the Mona Lisa is beautiful on the outside or not, you will remember her smile. Her internal beauty is eternal and inspiring. I would like to think the same is true today – internal beauty contains lasting value without being purchased, propped or synthetically enhanced.

About the Writer

Stephanie Michele is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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2 comments on Beauty Redefined

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By Ariel on October 18, 2006 at 02:35 pm
I totally agree with your point about the images of women being digitally enhanced in commercials. However, do you have any figures about the return on investment of Dove and their advertising campaign? It'd be interesting to see if this kind of campaing is effective, and if consumers actually want to identify themselves to models or "real-life women".
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By Ariel on October 20, 2006 at 02:39 am
check this out:
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