Marking the 10th anniversary of its campaign for "Real Beauty," Dove unveiled a new video called "Selfie," challenging teens and moms to take an "honest" selfie. The video premiered Sunday at Sundance Institute's Women at Sundance brunch in Park City, Utah. Documentarian Cynthia Wade, an Oscar-winner for the 2007 short documentary "Freeheld," weaves together several stories about girls at a high school in the Berkshires for the full-length eight-minute film. The photos created by the women were uploaded to a gallery on a newly created website, dovebeautyis.com, where viewers are encouraged to debate what beauty is using the social media hashtag #beautyis.
Although Dove's overall campaign has been heralded a huge success, particularly "Real Beauty Sketches," not all viewers have reacted positively. Personally, I resent brands presupposing that just because I am a woman I must think of myself as fat and ugly. (And that a corporation, with a product to sell, is going to make me feel all better.) "Real Beauty Sketches" didn't make me cry, and it didn't make me feel empowered. It disappointed me that the world seems to view women as weak and idiotic creatures crippled with body shame. I'm not the only one to find the campaign largely condescending and trite, but I admit that most reacted positively.
Other brands are now shamelessly copycatting the "empowerment" strategy with similar ads focused on women embracing their bodies, such as Special K's "Shhhhut Down Fat Talk." Where are the ads that focus on what women do, rather than how they look? Might that be a stronger message? Regardless, perhaps consumers like me are simply lost causes when it comes to this subject matter. I just can't take it seriously when someone trying to sell soap claims to care about my self esteem. So we'll see how it all plays out with "Selfie," but I'm more than ready for this marketing fad to croak.