Real Women on Real Beauty


The article by Kimberly Bissellis is based on the global research study by Dove about “the real truth about beauty”. The research involved the participation of women from different backgrounds who differed by shape, size, color and age. The research was conducted in the year 2003. The age of the women who took part in the research was between16 and 64. The study revealed that about 25 of the interviewed women felt that they were beautiful. Seventy six percent of the interviewed women felt that the media should portray women beauty as not just physical appearance.

The article shows how the media has affected the image of beauty among women. It looks at how thin female models have led to the widely spread perception of the cliché “thin is beautiful”. Those who do not conform to the standards of the ideal beauty as projected by the media often suffer from low self-esteem, anorexia, bulimia, depression and dissatisfaction with their body image. The advertisement and marketing agencies have not done much to help calm the situation. Most advertising companies have used images that best fit their description of beauty. The adverts objective is to persuade their consumers to use their products in order to have certain features that are portrayed by the models advertising their products. The main goal of these companies is to make consumers feel dissatisfied with their looks. Even though companies using these images will increase their sales, they will also leave a lasting effect on the consumers, because the consumers will always feel as though they lack an important attribute of beauty. The media have therefore created a discrepancy between what an individual evaluation of her true image and her ideal selves is. Individuals are therefore looking at achieving the ideal selves rather than maintain the true selves that make every person unique. According to the article, exposure to different stimulus accounts for the differences in self-evaluation and beauty. The media and advertising agencies have created an ideal image of a beautiful woman that the young women generation is trying to emulate. Some of the common variables of ideal beauty according to the article are thinness, height, facial characteristics, physical appearances and ideal weight. People evaluated their characteristics and variables based on what the media and the advertising agencies portrayed as the ideal characteristics to possess. The beauty representations have been instrumental in impacting the believes of the society about the ideal body and beauty of the modern woman. It is this view that marked the campaign by the Dove Company to redefine beauty. The campaigns were aimed at establishing realistic beauty depictions and stimulate discussion about new beauty meaning. This article would be different if the setting was different: different time when the definition of beauty was different or a place or language where the perception of beauty and the variables of beauty were different. I will examine how different audiences evaluate beauty and the evolution about beauty perception.

If this article was written in another culture, it would differ because of different perspective of beauty. In the Chinese culture, for example, ideal beauty is not defined using the physical characteristics on other social attributes. A good bride, according to the Chinese culture, would be the one who knows how to cook and look after the welfare of her husband. A good woman in the Chinese tradition should also be able to give birth to sons and be one who can ‘eat bitterness”. Unlike western culture where a woman feels inferior due to her physical attributes, Chinese set-up pays much attention to the biological and social component. Chinese woman’s main goal was to appease the husband. In the survey carried out by ACWF (All-China Women’s Federation), women (about 30%) affirmed that the most promising career for a woman is being a good wife. This is in contrast with the ideal woman perspective in the western world.  This would mean that if the article was written in the chine see content, most things would differ. Women would concentrate on social inequalities rather than physical differences. This is also the case in African set-up. In African traditional set-up, the beauty of a woman was her discipline and the ability to bear more children. This means that if this article was written in the traditional African set-up, the issues addressed in the article would lose their meaning. An ideal African woman was supposed to be plumb and masculine. This was to enable her fulfil all wifely duties and responsibilities. A thin woman was considered weak. The society feared that such a woman could not be able to bring up children or would face difficulties in performing physical activities related to her functions. These functions included bearing children and raising them. The traditional woman in African set-up was also supposed to be discipline and set examples to her daughters. If the article was written in this context, thinness would be considered a negative attribute. The media would also not realize a greater influence.

The article would also be different if it was set up in Victorian era. In this era, the ideal woman was defined through chastity, purity, modesty and definition. The ideal woman was not based on the physical characteristics but manners and etiquette. The women during this period defined beauty as the ability to maintain modesty. Indeed, if the article was written at this time, physical attributes of beauty like thinness and weight should have not been used to define and evaluate beauty. The media and the advertising agents should also have used modesty and etiquette rather than physical attributes. This would mean that the Dove campaign would have not been relevant.

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