Jon Hanson has written an excellent takedown of the “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty”.
Here are a few excerpts:
Several weeks ago, as part of its much lauded “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty,” Unilever released “Onslaught,” a video (above) examining disturbing images of women in beauty-industry advertising. The video ends with this admonition to parents: “Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does.”
But is talking “to your daughter before the beauty industry does” an effective solution?
It seems peculiar, therefore, that Dove would offer a film demonstrating the ubiquitous attack of the beauty industry that ends with the suggestion to parents that they are the ones to make a difference by simply talking to their kids. If the industry is the problem, it strikes me as odd that the parents are supposed to be the solution.
Hanson, makes a very interesting point, about parallels with Philip Morris ad campaigns.
Telling parents to talk to their children is not unusual as a public relations Philip Morris Talk to your Kids; They’ll Listen strategy. For instance, Philip Morris, among other companies, has long been pushing that message in its “public service” ads, particularly since the industry began to face a real threat of tort liability in the 1990s. The message seems public-spirited, but most industry analysts believe that Philip Morris is delivering, not a public-service message to parents, but a responsibility-shifting message to the public: kids smoke because of uninvolved or irresponsible parents, not because of anything that Philip Morris has done.
This has been a long-time pet peeve of mine. Whatever the negative messages of TV (or the media in general), the solution that is inevitably trotted out, is that “parents should just talk to their kids”.
There is some evidence that parents talking to their kids about what they see on TV does have a small ameliorative effect. But there is no evidence that such talk eliminates the many negative effects of TV.
Plus, watching a lot of TV with your kids and then continuously lecturing them the negative effects of the media seems like a case of mixed signals. Kind of like serving burgers and doughnuts for dinner (night after night), while at the same time lecturing on the importance of healthy meals.
A simpler, and more effective solution is to just turn-off the TV. For some reason this solution is rarely mentioned.
“Desperate Housewives and other TV soap operas may help make adolescent girls desperate for a thinness few can healthily achieve, new Australian research suggests.”
“A report of the American Psychological Association (APA) released today found evidence that the proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harmful to girls’ self-image and healthy development.”
Study Finds TV Alters Fiji Girls’ View of Body