Empowering (White) Women

First of all, my best wishes to all of those who may have friends and / or family in the Boston area who were affected by Monday’s bombings.  No matter what you may believe, I encourage everyone to send well wishes / prayers / good juju their way.  This link shows some of the resources that have been set up for the injured and their families, if you feel you may be able to do something a little more tangible.

EDIT:  and, like clockwork, Westboro Baptist Church weighs in.

While I was searching for something else to look at after getting updates about a terrible explosion for more than a couple of hours, I caught a post on Reddit about a Dove commercial in which they hired a forensic artist to draw women twice:  first, as how they see themselves, and second, as how they are seen by other people.  The results are below, in the video:

For those who don’t feel like watching the whole thing, the short of it is that the drawings of the women based on their own verbal descriptions were far less attractive than the pictures resulting from descriptions by other people.  Cue the piano music as they make this realization … the long meaningful pauses … the wiping of tears.  The differences between the two pictures, in every one, was pretty significant.

“She looks closed off and … fatter … sadder, too.  The second one looks more open, friendly … happy.”

“I should be more grateful of my natural beauty.  It impacts the choices and the friends we make, the jobs we apply for, how we treat our children, it impacts everything.  It couldn’t be more critical to your happiness.”

“We spend a lot of time as women analyzing and trying to fix the things that aren’t quite right … and we should spend more time appreciating the things that we do like. 

YOU ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU THINK.

UNLESS YOU ARE BROWN.

For a little background, “Fair and Lovely” is a product of Unilever, which also owns Dove.  Out of one side of their mouths, they’re telling you that everyone has natural beauty, and that those pictures you see on the billboards are nothing but made-up, airbushed, photoshopped fantasy.  On the other side they’re telling the half billion females in India that they’re took dark to be considered attractive.  All they need to do is bleach their skin, and suddenly they will be taken seriously, skyrocket up the corporate ladder, and have men stop what they’re doing and ask them for the time.  By which I mean sex.

It makes about as much sense as the AXE commercials they make.  Yep, AXE is another one of their products:

Here, all guys need to do is throw on some body spray and hot TSA employees of whatever gender you’re wired to find alluring will drop whatever they’re doing and begin humping your leg to the rhythm of “Rock You Like a Hurricane”, regardless of whether you’re built like Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons.  And, like one of the top commenters points out … it’s not sexual harassment if the perp is a hot chick.

Even as a male, I’m still aware that there are issues in this country with women and the way they see themselves.  Combine that with centuries of institutionalized sexism and there are plenty of problems that need addressing in real, substantive ways.  And, to give some small credit, the message they have is a useful one.  It’s just too bad I remain unconvinced that they actually give a rat’s ass about women or their self-image, as long as you buy their products to fund their South Asian skin-bleaching campaign.

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