There seems to have been a surge of interest in the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, at least as reflected by a steady increase in the number of people who have read my post about the subject (the post can be found here). This got me interested in checking out what’s new with the Campaign.
Well the answer seems to be ‘a lot’. It seems like Dove has been actively working into creating networks of people who reinforce the message of beauty through various activities, including the latest one: the Dove Sleepover for Self-Esteem, an intriguing concept which had me reading for quite some time.
Participants are called to host a night of change on May 2nd, 2009 (Be the change… Hmmm, sounds familiar…). The official website offers up various game and activity ideas to make this activity a fun one. You can find almost everything you need to organise this sleepover – except for the food and the people – on Dove’s Sleepover website. Dove is even offering three free music downloads to everyone who registers to get the party’s soundtrack going.
I was a little concerned with the fact that the ‘fun’ part of the sleepover might have been a little overemphasised for marketing reasons, and was only mildly reassured by the snippets of seriousness appearing on the site. After all, the sleepovers are being encouraged to create an environment in which mothers can talk to their daughters about body image and beauty issues, since, according to the site: “51% of women wish their mothers had talked to them more about beauty and body image when growing up. By being a part of the Sleepover for Self-Esteem, you’re starting a whole new tradition of speaking openly and honestly about the pressures facing young girls today.”
One criticism I would have is that, while the sleepovers are geared towards young girls, it would be interesting to further develop the teenager and young women aspect, since, at this point in time, they are the hardest hit by fashion’s continual impossible to attain standards of (artificial) beauty.
One thing I am very surprised with is that Tyra Banks doesn’t have anything to do with this. After all, she’s all about opening up the definition of beauty as well as building the self-esteem of young girls and young women in America. Perhaps she should consider doing a cross-country tour of surprise visits to some of these sleepovers?
And perhaps the tools that the official website offers should include discussion guides on specific Ugly Betty episodes that have to do with the misconception of beauty… Hmm… Perhaps something I could eventually get into one day…
This cross-country sleepover idea seems to be a great idea, one which can potentially provide the foundation for a more systematic way of discussing this important topic with girls and women of all ages. It’s going to be important, throughout the months and years ahead, for everyone involved – from Dove to the parents and teenagers participating – to open up the dialog to those around them who aren’t lucky enough to be involved in anything similar.
Most importantly, it is going to be important for everyone to learn and appreciate the power of expression, not only in understanding each other, but mostly, in this context, to be able to clearly and eloquently express the utter ridiculousness of society’s current standards of beauty.