Sunday, December 29, 2013

Dove's Real Beauty commercial is bullshit, and so is your face

I thought the title was mildly appropriate given the subject matter. Yes people, this is what it has come down to. We are all bickering over the stuff I use to lather my balls with and occasionally my asshole. Soap. I'm not sure what else could fit that description. Maybe shaving cream, but I make a point to never shave below my single roll of fat. Not because I have prejudice against smooth balls, I just like comparing my sack to Abraham Lincoln's face. Anyway, at some point in 2013, soap apparently became a pressing social issue. At least I think it did. Do I understand this properly?

So this company that loves white people made a commercial which was intended to be a beacon for women everywhere to realize their external beauty or something. Selling stuff was clearly a secondary objective. Point is, women everywhere lost their minds. Naturally, this struck me as comedy gold, and I immediately endeavored to make fun of everyone involved. I can do that. I'm a satire writer, and an asshole. And when I say "immediately", I mean several months after the fact. I don't adhere to urgency often.

Now, I'm not writing this because I hate women or anything. It's just that I had a free afternoon and sometimes it's really easy to make fun of things. Seriously, someone might as well have addressed an invitation directly to me. It just so happens that women are involved in the topic. I'm also going to make fun of Dove too, so this may be the most wonderfully ambivalent piece of writing that you will be confusedly angry at all day. So, while I sit here contemplating masturbation and waiting for my shitty internet to load the only piece of research I cared to reference for this, allow me to walk you through the video that happened in 2013.

The video begins with a sketch artist dude who worked for the FBI for a while. A lady is interviewed, in this place she had never been before, which she awkwardly tried to be clear about, and she soon realizes, oh my! This man in this completely contrived scenario is drawing me! I can't imagine what else he would be doing with a drafting board. Perhaps he was going to frisbee it at her face? That's what I would have done. What's weird is that the woman claims she figured out he was drawing her from the questions he was asking. The scratching pencil didn't tip you off?

The women begin describing themselves, I think one girl tears up a little for the camera, then some other people come in and describe the same people. The women who were drawn then get to look at the sketch of themselves that they described, and the sketch that another person described, side by side. Sorry to spoil the ending for you, but the sketch on the left looked like the wax sculpture of Amanda Bynes, so just Amanda Bynes, therefore disgusting, the sketch on the right looked like someone I would jack off to for at least a minute, and then Dumbledore dies.

Left: Shrek
Right: Dreams
Far right: Looks like a girl I work with

I wouldn't say I liked the video the first time I watched it, because if I did, that would mean that I'm gay. I certainly didn't hate it. I got the message they were sending and moved on with my life that consists of eating and neglecting laundry. You are more beautiful than you realize and you judge yourself too harshly and all that shit. Cool, good message, particularly for women, who are hounded on about looks in our society. Don't be so critical of your looks, be happy, whatever. It's like people suddenly regret putting looks above everything else and are trying to make up for it. Then people everywhere, I assume mostly women, collectively lost their shit at this advertisement that didn't perfectly represent every aspect of equality and diversity. This confused me, because at first I thought women everywhere were saying, "You can't tell us to be happy with how we look, you bastards!" A social issue hasn't erupted everytime I've tried to compliment a woman, what's going on here? So I decided to see what all of the complaints were about.

I was linked to a site called, "Business Insider" that had a piece titled, "Why People Hate Dove's 'Real Beauty Sketches' Video". It looked as if the article was a summary of all the main complaints that people have had towards the video, which was great news for me. I take research about as seriously as I take ass crack grooming, as has been well established at this point, so thank you to whomever it was that compiled this list of inventive pessimism. You've made my life easier. The list of complaints was great fun to read, largely because I found a way to make fun of every point in some regard. Again, not because I'm sexist, but because I'm an asshole. These qualities are infact mutually exclusive at times. First off, most glaringly, the title seemed off to me.

"Why People Hate Dove's 'Real Beauty Sketches' Video"
Hate. I've used the same word to describe my feelings towards the bizarrely sharp, invisible objects that sometimes inhabit the bottom of my shoes, or how I feel whenever someone asks me what I'm going to do with my life. Personally, I like answering that question with, "Die eventually." That conversation is now over. The problem I have with the word "hate" is that it's overused. We don't comprehend the gravity of it anymore. We've went right to the top shelf with that word. If you hate something, by definition, that person or object has incurred your extreme, seething hostility and you wish death upon it. I don't think people "hate" the video so much as they were "irked" by it. They felt "dissatisfaction". I think we should put more stock in those words rather than "hate", because really, to put all of your hatred in perspective, this is what it probably looked like:

It's nice to see my flawless artwork conveying my ideas perfectly.
The giant Hershey's bar is supposed to be a keyboard, if you couldn't tell

Another complaint I had is that they called it a "video". I'd describe it more as an advertisement myself. The word "video" seems too general and devoid of context. Advertisement has a more specific focus. It's like how some doctors specialize in reading charts, walking places and ignoring you, while others delight in sticking tubes in horrible places or drugging you. No, there wasn't a good way to illustrate that thought without looking stupid, deal with it. With that in mind, reacting to this commercial in some fashion gave Dove more exposure, which is what they ultimately wanted. They probably left out certain aspects on purpose. Welcome to marketing! Or maybe Dove is just racist, money starved sexist people failing miserably at appealing to all standards, who knows? All that being said, I'm going to refer to the ad campaign as a video anyway, because I'm lazy. I'm all about low expectations. Now, on to the main complaints.

The video only focuses on a very small subset of women
I think you should look up the word "subset", because I don't think it means what you think it means. When I first read that complaint, that only a very small subset of women were represented, I thought they were complaining that Dove didn't sketch every woman on the planet. Of course they didn't, stupid. The dude would develop arthritis long before he ran out of lead. A man is only ever interested in driving his muscles to that extreme if it involves extensive masturbation. Those are some high expectations you have, lady. Some lady named Kate Fridkis described the concept of the video as some pretty young, lovely women describing their appearances. I felt it was worth noting that she used the word "lovely" to describe the abundance of white women in the video. That's nice and all, but it begs the question, how does this woman measure loveliness? I wonder what personal standards she referenced for that statement. You are no different than this filthy advertisement, you snake!

Describing all of the women as "pretty young" was good too. I suppose it was cleaner than describing the women as, "sort of but maybe not children but almost old but no kind of I don't know". Keeping it general. I like it, Kate.

In fact, most of these "real" and "beautiful" women are white
I'm not sure why the words "real" and "beautiful" were in quotations. That usually means a person is intending to be sarcastic. So wait, the white women in the video aren't real? Holy shit! Those were some convincing automatons. Robotics has come a fair ways. The women and/or cyborgs in the video aren't beautiful either? Damn. That's a little harsh, don't you think? Again, this raises the question of how this person gauges outward beauty. I know I certainly wouldn't complain if I saw any of those women in a sweater. I did feel a little cheated that we couldn't see the sketch of the asian girl. I can only imagine Dove felt it best to wheel out a picture of Buddha. He's like the stencil for asian people. Now that I'm done offending a large portion of the human race, let's continue.

"Blogger jazzylittledrops wrote a passionate blog about the video's lack of diversity." Ah, jazzylittledrops. It's good to know only the most serious and prestigious of sources were referenced for this piece. jazzylittledrops, championing the notion of diversity, complained that out of the six minutes and thirty seconds of footage, people of colour were onscreen for less than ten seconds. I'm not sure why jazzy felt it necessary to refer to black people as, "people of colour". For future reference, you can just call them black. Don't worry, making an observation is ok. I often refer to broccoli as just green rather than a "vegetable of colour". Also, just to be that guy. Technically, everyone in that video was a person of colour.

jazzy and I definitely didn't watch the same video, and for that I'm thankful. The video I watched was only three minutes and one second long. I can't imagine sitting through a 6:36 long video, I think I would literally start to biodegrade. I barely made it through the 3:01 one before deciding I had to do something else just so I wouldn't have to continue watching it. She also complained that a black man was interviewed and made the comment, "She had pretty blue eyes." Actually, he said she had, "Very nice blue eyes." Much more direct. "Pretty" can mean a couple of different things. I win the universe. What's wrong with having blue eyes and being white anyway? She also said that the two black women describing themselves in a negative way were both lighter skinned. So wait, they have to be jet black to be considered black people? I'm confused.

I dunno, I think I smell some latent racism here, or at least some slight insecurity masquerading as criticism. Is it possible that someone is projecting a little? I know I don't normally think about the absense of black people in commercials or TV shows. This person seems weirdly determined to brand herself as a free thinking, accepting, not racist person, probably in an effort to convince black people everywhere that she's one of the nice white people. Right before they jack her car, of course.

The ad might teach what it preaches against - that beauty is paramount
I like how the word "might" appears in the title. It could, I don't know. I suppose so. Definitely a possible maybe. Covering all your bases, hm? Ann Friedman had an exhaustive quote underneath this point that was essentially, "Don't judge people based on beauty." That's wonderful, but I have a problem with that complaint. The video starts with a sketch artist. What exactly did you think was going to happen? The guy would sit people down and ask questions like, "Was she good at painting? Did she express passionate opinions about the gold standard? What was her stance on communism?" My artwork is about as refined as the tinfoil around a baked potato, but I think it would be pretty hard to sketch someone's face based on their personality. The dude's not a personality profile collector, he draws pictures, and sometimes those pictures get arrested and subsequently dicked.

We all judge each other by personality in the end anyway. I know I wouldn't date a person who could string an interesting sentence together about as well as a deck screw and had as much sense of humour as a hang nail. Usually what initially attracts you to someone is outward appearance. It's important, don't kid yourself. It's naive to think that people don't have standards. I know I wouldn't date a person who's missing a head. Of course the more pressing issue in that circumstance is that person is probably dead, but you get the idea. You could have the best personality in the world, but if you're missing a head, I won't find you interesting.

... that's a lie, I'm going to wonder where the fuck your head is, if you want to play soccer, and shortly afterwards if you find the joke, "Keep your eye on the ball!" funny. Conversely, just to make a point, the paintings in my house are beautiful, but that doesn't mean I want to date and fuck them. With the exception of sexy Hawaiian bitch, goddamn.

That's my dick taking the picture

If you're with a person that is only with you because of yours looks and doesn't give a shit about your personality, then just get all of the sex you want out of the way and leave. It's very simple. Don't date a douchebag and get angry when it's exactly what you knew it would be. That only further perpetuates this ridiculous generalization. I don't condone douchebaggery, but at least it's honest.

Furthermore, it could even make women more self-conscious for having a real, as opposed to "imaginary" mole.
Kate Fridkis makes her second appearance in this piece with more choice quotes. "Interestingly, even the sketches based on the self-descriptions weren't actually particularly unattractive, and I was faintly annoyed with the idea that one sketch was supposed to represent unattractiveness and the other beauty, when the distinct-" hold on, I need to inhale. "-ions between the two seemed to lie in characteristics like a mole, shadows under the eyes, slight roundness in facial shape, or a few wrinkles." Now that we're all done moarning the death of our friend the period (the tool to end a sentence with, not the vagina thing). They weren't actually particularly unattractive? That may be the most evil thing I've ever read in my life. They weren't unattractive? The fuck does that mean? What were they, attractive maybe? Why couldn't you just say that out right?

I don't think the purpose behind the video was to label one picture as Jekyll and the other as Hyde. The idea was to sell products. I'm not sure what else was going on there or why Dove felt that was needed. I find it's best not to read into things too much sometimes. For instance, I can find plenty of things in the video that raise interesting questions, depending on your perspective. Why did that one girl ride a bike to the studio? Why is the room all white? Why weren't men represented? Why weren't there any brown women? Why is everyone and everything so clean? Where are the lesbians? Though I ask that last question all the time, even at Thanksgiving dinner. I think you find evil when you look for it based on your view of things. For example, I think Barney The Dinosaur is a pedophile, and Winnie The Pooh is a heroin addict. Otherwise, there's a simple explanation for everything. Winnie The Pooh fucking loves honey, and Barney enjoys pissing in the mouths of children.

Kate states that the video implies that all women who age and get wrinkles are less attractive, and I think to an extent, things imply what you want them to imply, because I don't remember that being said directly. Now I wish it had though. Had the sketch artist compared a woman's face to his scrotum, and then immediately got a boot to that area, I would have been far more entertained. I'm not saying don't ask questions or discuss things, I'm just saying there's value in sleeping all day instead.

The ad blames women, rather than society, for critiquing the smallest physical imperfection.
It may be because I'm a white male and nothing bad has ever happened to me, but I don't grasp this concept very well. The message I'm getting here is that we should blame the pressures of society for our choices? Society made you wear the clothes you're wearing, held you down and put make up on your face? You are victimized by beauty standards that society imposes on you that you are under no obligation to fulfill at all? It's impossible for people to be critical of themselves, and when it happens, it's always a bad thing? This all has to be a byproduct of environment and what we're fed on television? Sorry to get all serious on you here, but I'm not sure what's worse. Labelling all women as victims, or labelling all women as gullible, mindless idiots? Though in fairness, when I watch a car commercial, it does make me want to buy the fuck out of a van.

You do realize that at any point you want, you can shave your entire head, never wear make up again and dress in a potato sack, right? You can do whatever the hell you want, you don't have to buy into anything. I'd hang out with you. This begs the question, who exactly do you hang around with who perpetuates this myth that all women must be skinny blondes with blue eyes and impeccable fashion sense, and if they are less than perfect, they are judged and ostracized for it? These guidelines for perfection tickle my balls, because they're so ambiguous. Perfection to one person could be that they have a foot fetish. Perfection to me is the ability to tell at least one adequate knock knock joke. I know I haven't oppressed any women I know, at least not in the past few days, so what the hell is going on here? Those are some terrible people you hang around with or pay attention to, ladies. Get the hell out of there!

Women don't want to be seen as victims. It's patronizing.
Then why do you complain all the time about everything? I know the shoes don't go with the dress. Worse things could happen in life. Anyway, a women, who by the grace of Facebook's lackluster privacy settings, has her name publicly on display in this article. She says, "Implying all women hate themselves for stupid reasons that don't exist is not empowering or comforting, it's insulting." Good thing the video focused on a small subset of women, am I right?? Isn't it a bit of a stretch to assume that these women with scripted dialog hate themselves? Saying that they hate themselves for stupid reasons is kind of misguided as well. That seems kind of dismissive. You've never wanted to change anything about yourself ever? Nothing ever bothers you, and when things bother other people, it's stupid? This message has become confusing. On the brightside, only this small group of women hate themselves.

The sketch artist was a man
I dunno, I thought he drew the pictures pretty good. Apparently, the issue was that he got to present to the women their "true" beauty. What's wrong with that? That makes it sound like you need special schooling to compliment a woman, without a rigorous anaylsis occurring shortly afterwards. Would you have preferred a woman present the sketches? I'm not sure if that would solve the problem more than create more problems. If this commercial featured all women, it'd be a disaster. Have you spent any amount of time in the real world? Women hate each other! The commercial would be all passive aggressive and quiet, and only when the other women were several yards away would they voice their contempt for their eyebrows or poor taste in shoes. You don't even get to see a good fight full of slaps and scratching. That's right, I understand females. No shade of contrived ignorance here, ladies.

It's hypocritical for an ad aiming to instill healthy body images to come from Unilever, a company that makes a business of marginalizing women in Axe campaigns.
Those Axe commercials confuse me. They make it seem like you have to cover yourself in a deadly nerve agent to attract women, and also that they appear to enjoy suffocating to death. What I'm wondering now is, what's the ideal scenario here? Thus far, no one raising complaints about this ad has suggested anything to that end. This is supposed to be a very supportive atmosphere, and you are not being conducive to such. If you're starved for suggestions, I have an idea. Two black people walk in frame, one old, one young, and then they start making out. One of them has a dick and a lesbian sucks on it, then someone saves a puppy and eats a pistol because fuck guns, man. This way, people can't claim the commercial is racist or degrading to gay people or even animals, and opposes gun laws. If that wouldn't sell some goddamn soap, I don't know what would.

Even if you made the perfect commercial that represented everybody equally and well, I would still think you're fucking stupid. Just sell what you want to sell and shut up about it, you don't need to create an identity or attempt to start a movement. Not doing terrible things is usually a good enough reason for me to buy something. Everything else just makes me think you're full of it. I just want to buy soap and shampoo. Why do ethics need to be introduced in this scenario? I just want clean balls. Throughout all of this, I still don't know what Dove was trying to sell. Their name, I guess? I think the biggest reason why women hated the video so much, is because there wasn't a clearly labelled object to buy. That's just me saying something terrible because it makes me happy that you're mad now.

I think we should all just stop watching TV and videos for a while and fuck all of these companies over. Suddenly, their dumb messages that could never possibly apply to everyone hold very different meanings. Why would they even bother trying in that circumstance? Oh damn, these people were just looking for creams to masturbate with, not a social movement weirdly aimed directly at women. Eat my balls, Dove. I'm gonna go listen to Blurred Lines and pee on a lesbian now. Take care!