Thursday, August 18, 2005

Reality Advertising

I am delving into my Husbands world of advertising and marketing with this post because I am just so impressed with this new trend of using "real women" and "real beauty" in advertising. It peaked in my interest while reading this article in the NY Times.

It is no secret that Dove has started a massive campaign with their "Real Beauty" advertising and it is about time. How long have we been subjected to ads featuring stick thin, beautifully coifed women who have no idea what it is like to scrape dried up poop off a wall or pray that no none sees you with vomit all over your shirt because of course you packed an extra outfit for the baby, but a clean shirt for you...that is a luxury? What surprised me was when i went to the Dove website and found thelink for The Dove Self Esteem Fund. In the US, the DSEF is partnering with the Girl Scouts "to educate and inspire girls on a wider definition of beauty and to make them feel more confident about themselves." How great is that?

When I was a teenager I (like many others going through what I think is one the most difficult times in a woman's life) never thought that I was all that pretty. Sure, I thought I was average looking, but what bothered me most was my "athletic" figure. My thighs, I thought, were wide and big, not strong and firm. My chest was flat, not fit and trim. I knew that these were things that went along with being an athlete and I also knew that I did not have the body of like a dancer...long, lean, graceful, and thin. I was/am short, curvy, and muscular. The grass is always greener, right? I also think that the way I viewed my body directly influenced how I realted to others...especially boys. I was sporty...therefore tom-boyish...therefore always "one of the guys" and not the girlfriend. I painted that picture and that is what people saw. My hope is that by the time Piper and Finley realize there are "ideals" in beauty, those "ideals" will be a wider range of beautiful and women who are strong and smart and ambitious and independent will be the ones that my girls will look up to an admire for their true beauty.

So, when I saw a Nike ad in a magazine I was so excited to see a company touch on a subject that so needs to be re-invented. It talks about and highlights the fact that a woman's butt is big and round and fine just the way it is. I was thinking...right on! Someone finally gets it...that skinny does not = beautiful. Healthy = beautiful and that comes in all shapes and sizes. There are a series of these ads that celebrate different parts of the body like "thunder thighs" (my favorite because I can relate) and broad shoulders. There are also TV ads that feature real women talking candidly about their bodies.

I have since learned to appreciate my "assests." My body has given birth twice and nourished two girls into strong thriving children. I am strong and it is important to me to take care of mybody and then it will take care of me. I may have "thunder thighs" but I like me like that and really that is all that matters. There are times when I feel fat and bloated and there are times that I feel sexy, but my insecurities or my sense of pride are not what defines me...what defines me is the way I view what God has given me and how I use His blessings in my life. I want my girls to view me as a role model of strength and beauty.

3 comments:

Eric said...
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Eric said...

Shannon, this could not have come at a better time for me. I really needed to hear that. Thanks for writing it.

Scott said...

Shannon,
I know it has been a long time and I happened to "stumble" upon your blog. Couldn't help myself but to comment on this. You were always and still are beautiful. You have a beautiful family and I wish you the best. I do not have a blog, but have been tempted to start one. That is where the "stumbled" part comes in. Feel free to write me scott.gaddy@korea.army.mil Not sure how or if you read these comments so I will leave it at that and give you my life update if you send me an email. Congratulations on a beautiful family and life!