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05 JULY 2014

A Feminist Analysis of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

Abstract: "Drawing from several areas of research, this thesis explores the ways in which Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty appropriates feminist themes to sell beauty products, to the detriment of female consumers. Advertising and marketing have long held the power to create, shape, and reinforce cultural norms, and for years, advertisers have been able to propagate and strengthen gender stereotypes. Though there has been a push since the late 1990s to stem the flow of sexist and potentially dangerous advertising messages about women's bodies, ads still disseminate harmful messages that contribute to the further sexualization and oppression of women in the United States. Dove is just one of the many female–targeted brands that claim to hold progressive, woman–positive ideals, while still selling products intended to make women more beautiful–supposedly the ultimate goal for any modern female. While the campaign professes a desire to increase confidence and self–esteem for women and girls around the globe, it promotes a post–feminist, consumerist agenda that actually reinforces what Naomi Wolf titled 'the beauty myth'. Linguistic and visual analyses of Dove's print and viral marketing tactics within the contexts of advertising, feminism, and consumer culture reveal that instead of 'redefining' beauty, the Dove campaign is, in actuality, reinforcing decades–old ideology about women's appearance and status in society."

(Caitlin McCleary, 2014)

McCleary, Caitlin M., "A Not–So–Beautiful Campaign: A Feminist Analysis of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty" (2014). University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects. http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_chanhonoproj/1691

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TAGS

2013advertising campaignanxietyappropriationbeauty industrybeauty productsbody imageco-optionconsumer culturecultural normsdepictions of womendissertationDove (brand) • Dove Real Beauty Sketches (2013) • drawingemotional responseemotive manipulationempowerment themeevocative advertisingfemale consumerfemale-targeted brandsfeminist analysisfeminist themesgender stereotypesgendered brands • honours thesis • marketing campaign • Naomi Wolf • physical appearancepost-feminist agenda • real beauty • Real Beauty (campaign) • redefining beauty • self-criticism • self-esteemself-perceptionsexualisation • sketch artist • sketching • The Beauty Myth (1990) • Unilever • University of Tennessee • viralviral adviral advertisingviral marketing tactics

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 MARCH 2014

Haul girls: identity performance through brand consumption and endorsement

"Helina is explaining what a haul girl is to me. 'Basically, you go out shopping for clothes or beauty products,' she says, 'then you make a haul video and show viewers on YouTube what you got. You go through the items of clothing one by one. I guess what people get out of them is not showing off, like, how much money you've got or anything, but lifestyle: you get to see how one person lives, what their taste is.'

If you're minded to sneer at a youth cult that involves making videos about your shopping, then Helina has a pretty intriguing counter–argument. 'It's not just about showing what you've got,' she says. 'It's a whole creative process behind the videos as well, which is what I enjoy about it. Choosing the right music, going from the filming to the editing. Sometimes I even storyboard things, because I want certain shots, how I can present different items and things like that.' Besides, she says, it's a genuine community. She thinks a lot of haul girls 'turn the camera on because it's a way to talk to people without having to go outside and face their fears. I know that was the case with me: I turned on my camera because I was at home, signed off work, sick, and really bored. And it helped with my confidence in a way. There's this community where you can talk to like–minded people.'"

(Alexis Petridis, 20 March 2014, The Guardian)

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TAGS

2014affective consumptionaffective goal achievementamateur cultural productionASOSbeauty products • Boohoo • Boots (shop) • brand awareness • clothes shopping • commodificationcommodity fetishismconstructed identitiesconsumer aestheticsconsumer brandsconsumer cultureconsumer endorsementconsumption spectaclecultural materialismcultural monoculturedigital narcissism • haul girl • haul video • I shop therefore I amidentity performancelifestyle • Missguided (shop) • new media content productiononline communityonline followersperformativitypersonal tastepost-feminist agenda • Primark • product endorsementrecommender culture • retail therapy • shopping for clothes • show and tellspectacular societysubculturetaste formationsThe Guardianunboxingvideo blogger • whats in my bag (video) • whats in my purse (video) • YouTube • Zara (shop)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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