More and more for millennials, there is an increasing need to fit into the photo shopped perfection on billboards and ads that seem to follow us wherever we go. Yet, with this overwhelming onslaught of societal accepted ideals on beauty come a few brave voices which fight to redefine what is real and what is beauty. Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, Aerie’s unretouched ads, #nomakeupselfie, and the Media and Public Health Act have all been leaders in the counteraction against society’s impossible expectations of perfection.
2014 marks the 10 year anniversary of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. Dove’s initiative began with advertisements of beautifully average individuals who are more likely to be seen in real life rather than the thin supermodels who monopolize the beauty industry. This norm breaking decision by Dove brought much praise from women around the US who felt like they could now identify with the beauty brand.
What really kick started Dove’s campaign on redefining beauty was the video “Evolution.” This portrayal of a woman being transformed from normal to artificially created billboard ready “beautiful” left such a haunting and powerful effect on viewers, the video went viral with more than 17 million. Since then, Dove has released many videos exposing people’s unhealthy and narrowing obsession with physical beauty. Dove also works to weed out insecurity and plant a broader understanding of what beauty is, promoting confidence and empowerment for women everywhere.
Dove’s real beauty campaign has only gained momentum since its birth, with ads and videos which act more like social mission statements than brand endorsements. Spreading like wildfire, “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” video has become the most watched video advertisement of all time. Dove’s newest video ad “Dove: Patches” is also sure to make a statement with its more than 18 million views in just one week.
The lingerie store Aerie has followed in Dove’s rule breaking footsteps this Spring, with an entire season of unretouched photo advertisements. Women online rejoiced at the natural point of view Aerie recently took in exposing the imperfections of their models as strengths and idiosyncrasies not weaknesses. Aerie even got much of the public involved with their #aeriereal movement, encouraging people to post photos onto their social media that are untouched letting natural beauty shine.
In a statement by Aerie, the company vowed for “No more retouching our girls and no more supermodels.” With the younger demographic target for Aerie, the effect is expected to influence young teens and women in a powerfully beneficial way, it being a critical time in realizing and creating one’s own identity and self-image. The idea behind both Dove and Aerie’s campaigns is that the real you is already beautiful. Rather than fitting into whatever size society tells you to, both Dove and Aerie have taken advantage of exemplifying the type of individuals people see and look like on a daily basis and showing them as already beautiful.
Even though magazines are often seen as the villain in the beauty making industry, some magazines have opted out using photoshop on occasion. Jessica Simpson’s no make-up and no retouching Marie Claire cover in 2010 garnered much media attention and widespread approval. Many more celebrities have spoken out against magazines photo shopping their photos including singer Nicki Minaj who spoke against her ESPN magazine cover posting the photo on her social media exposing her true opinions on the matter.
In light of the enormous publicity people can gain through their social media the #NoMakeupSelfie has sparked a new trend. The no makeup selfie hash tag initiated through celebrities telling their viewers to be embrace their natural beauties, but also acted as an opportunity to show the world that they’re still beautiful. This duality sparked a bit of controversy at the authenticity of people’s intent immersing from a mixture of so called vanity versus bravery. Celebrities like Demi Lovato who has previously battled an eating disorder however, have spoken out vehemently in loving and accepting who you are, captioning her photo “Ladies, be brave today. Take off your make-up and stop using those filters!! WE are beautiful!!!”Despite the arguments on intent, #NoMakeupSelfie has been transformed for a new cause. What started out as a viral trend has been used to spread cancer awareness and aid Cancer Research UK and American Cancer Society. Starting out in the UK, friends could invite other friends to post a #NoMakeupSelfie and then donate $5 to cancer research. Over just the past few months this cancer fundraising creative movement has raised eight million British pounds for cancer research in the UK and US! Although many people have begun to argue the relevancy of a natural selfie to cancer research the results have indubitably been beneficial in gaining funding for a cause and confidence for an individual to post without a physical filter.
This antiphotoshop revolution has never seemed as real and as passionate until the works of Seth and Eva Matlins and their proposed Media and Public Health Act. Their initiative is to curb the often ridiculous dramatizations and illogical portrayals found in advertisements and to have “Truth in Advertising” labels. If companies do choose to photoshop their models the Matlins believe that the advertisement should clearly state that to avoid false advertising and distorted images presented to the public. With 2,646 individuals who have already signed their petition hopes are high to take this real beauty ideology in bring it into a firmly rooted reality. For more information on the Media and Public Health Act and if you’d like to sign the petition to show your report visit: http://www.change.org/petitions/protect-our-girls-and-pass-the-media-and-public-health-act.
With brands, individuals, charities, and even proposed legislation spreading the somewhat novel ideal that the natural, unfiltered, and unphotoshopped you as the realest sense of beauty it seems as though there may be hope for the millions of young women who have never felt beautiful. According to a study done by Dove, only 2% of women viewed themselves as beautiful. However, through the bravery of companies, organizations, and people alike stepping up and voicing their new truth that beauty doesn’t have a size, it is only logical to believe that this statistic will finally begin to rise.