The video below may be the best thing you see today. Please take 3 minutes out of your busy day to watch it. If you are a NiftyWoman, you may want to have a hanky handy!
Sure, it's an ad campaign, but this is the best kind of use of corporate clout writ large. These Dove campaigns give wide exposure to crushing toxic notions of femininity that feminist groups have been struggling - and failing - to overcome for decades.
Harmful, demeaning cultural pressure on women to conform to an impossible fantasy of beauty is propped up by the constant barrage of media objectification of women and an unquestioned beauty culture. Girls soak up that poison early, too, so that self-criticism will usually fill in on the rare occasions when another person might try to reassure her that she is beautiful just as she is - that her beauty is in her humanity and all that makes her her, not in whether she wears a certain dress size or has a certain set of facial characteristics.
Just as rape continues to be epidemic even in so-called egalitarian, progressive societies because few powerful voices challenge the notion that most rape is not really rape, so the toxic beauty culture persists because few powerful voices challenge it either. One such powerful voice could be a large corporation with a robust advertising budget.
I think these promotions may and should pay off for this company. They have invested in ideas that matter. They have given corporate sponsorship to a recognition of the value of humanity - of women - beyond the superficial. And, as we have learned, well-funded campaigns really do change societal opinions and bring meaningful shifts in cultural norms.
Someone at Dove decided to pair corporate self-interest with a social conscience. I call that a win-win.
What a NiftyIdea!