"women of varying sizes"by Marcia Barhydt, Woman of a Certain Age

Do you remember the awesome ad campaign for Dove products called the Campaign for Real Beauty? Both TV and print ads showed older women of varying ages. They were wrinkled, they were saggy, but Dove said they were beautiful. Originally that campaign was targeted to pre-teens and young girls to let them know that in spite of the barrage of images of skinny, perfectly coifed, made up and highly photo-shopped models, there was beauty beyond the ‘model’ image. Go to YouTube and search for “Evolution” and “Onslaught”.

Well now Dove has another campaign with the same objective – to let young girls know that they’re beautiful. Here’s one of the campaign’s short videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnOSZX4tpOA . Although this campaign isn’t new, it’s been taken out of the advertising vault and it’s receiving a lot of press right now, with good reason. Please take a few short moments to watch and learn about the concerns of girls today.

Here are some shocking facts from Miss Representation/Keep It Real – our daughters and granddaughters continue to be deeply influenced by what they see in magazines and on TV…
80% of 10-year-old American girls say they have been on a diet
65% of American women and girls report disordered eating behaviours
53% of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their bodies. That number increases to 78% by age 17
BUT…The 3-Day Keep It Real Challenge Begins. Thousands took to Twitter today to ask magazines and their editors to drop Photoshop – and we were heard! Marie Claire, Glamour, US Weekly and Lucky Magazine all responded to user tweets!

And here’s another shock, this time from the Disney group who seem to have revamped their vamps, the ones in children’s movies. From Jezebel, by Dodai Stewart…”The new Disney Villains Beauty Line, hitting stores in September, features lip colors, eye shadows and nail polish inspired by evil ladies like Cruella De Vil, Maleficient and the Queen of Hearts. The Little Mermaid’s Ursula the Sea Witch is also included, but you might not recognize her: her waist has been whittled and her double chin’s gone. Talk about a poor, unfortunate soul!”

In the midst of the emerging concept about a more real outlook on how our daughters perceive their bodies, Disney stands out like a sore thumb.

Fortunately, there’s been an explosive trend in the past few months for advertisers to use real, life-size models. Real as in not skinny enough to look anorexic.

Iconic fashion magazine Vogue has embraced life sized models; they proudly offer Vogue Curvy to their monthly magazine. This isn’t a plus size section; it’s a real-size section.

Special K is making a big statement about body image with its new “What will you gain when you lose” campaign. The British ad campaign is about changing the way women think about weight loss and focusing on body confidence rather than body size. In a new commercial, British women step on a scale in the very public Covent Garden; instead of their weight flashing on the screen, a word will pop up — “moxie,” “happy,” “sass” — that represents what they will gain by losing weight. How cool is that?

OK, good; there are a few companies beginning to be gett on board about promoting a normal size body. But we need to keep pressuring companies who are not on board yet. Write to them, email them, above all, don’t buy their products and let them know why they’ve been removed from your list.

We also need to find a way to deal with the chicken and the egg syndrome: Is Madison Avenue driving the trend for skinny models to sell their client’s products, or are the clients telling Madison Avenue to produce skinny models to show their fashions. Keep protesting wherever you see this travesty!

We CAN change this; we DO have a voice!

I’m a woman of a certain age and I’m certain that real women rock!

©Marcia Barhydt, 2012