No Real Women Need Apply

Update: Apparently Dove realizes that this ad is not particularly friendly to the “unreal” among us and did not sanction the ad. But someone out there wrote and it it needs to be addressed nonetheless.

I was trolling the interwebs for blog fodder when I happened up a casting call ad from the fine folks at Dove. Now, I have nothing against Dove.  I’m pretty sure I’ve used their products in the past and never broken out into a rash or lost a limb or anything so they must be fine. And I thought it was kind of cool that they were putting regular women in their ads.  But after reading this casting call, I find that they have a different idea of what “real” is than I do:

Real women, huh? Flawless skin, huh? No tattoos or scars, huh? I guess it’s safe to say that stretch marks are right out, too, huh? Because stretch marks are “flaws”, not a natural side effect of pregnancy. Real women don’t have stretch marks, I guess.

Real women also probably don’t have the freckles that pop up after a long summer of taking kids to playgrounds and pools.  They don’t have the accidental tan lines picked up on the sidelines of a soccer field or baseball diamond.  Real women avoid the bruises and scrapes that come from playing with children, the little nicks and scars that come with taking care of a home and a family.  Real women with really flawless skin probably don’t have giant circles under their eyes from losing sleep to nursing a baby or caring for a sick child or pacing the floor waiting for a teen-ager to come home past curfew.

In short, Dove thinks real women are unmarked by life. That can’t be said of mothers.

Yeah, well, I’ve got news for you Dove,  I reject the notion that we are not real women, even with our “flawed” skin.

Maybe spider veins and stretch marks and thickened ankles and that slight slackening of skin that begins at the neck and the back of the hands isn’t the most perfect thing the Madison Avenue types running Dove’s campaign have ever seen. But they don’t make us less than real.  Quite the opposite. Real women live their lives and take their lumps, their stretch marks, their surgical scars,  spider veins and wave their flags high.  Real women say “I am mother, partner, daughter, sister! And I am proud of me! RAWR!”

Real women are not flawless. But real women are beautiful.

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11 comments for “No Real Women Need Apply

  1. June 30, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Well said! Who would have thought “real women” have so many qualifications to be considered “real.”

  2. June 30, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Eff that. They’d probably want me to shave my legs too.

  3. KLZ
    June 30, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Well, this is embarrassing but I’m actually a blow-up doll. So I guess I’m out too?

  4. June 30, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Hmmm . . . tattoo/bruises/burns/scars/stretch marks/freckles/spider veins/weird tan lines/ragged skin around my nails [but they are perfectly painted!]/wrinkles . . . yeah, I think I’ll give it a shot. Idiots.

  5. June 30, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Says that Craigslist ad was “not approved” by Dove. There’s a picture of a woman with a tattoo, too. Tattoo too. Hehe

    I remember a Dove ad showing a woman who looked to be in her 80s, so I think this is the fault of the Craigslit ad poster. Who is still a supremely giant jerk.

  6. June 30, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Wow, with my soccer playing I would definitely be out. My legs looks like I live with an angry little person. Not exactly “pretty” but that’s just real.

    It’s sad that even Dove, who is probably the best at using “real” women still only uses the cream of the “real” crop. It’s also too bad that our society’s standard of beauty is so narrow. I guess that’s not Dove’s fault tho….

  7. June 30, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Hmm. Don’t that have photoshop for that crap? Clearly even supermodels aren’t *that* super, so why can’t they just “fix” us real women instead of coming off as a jackass?

    I think the last time I looked that “real” I was probably 5…at least if I hadn’t procured that roller skating/bolt scar yet. Who looks like that? And what kind of bubble are they living in? I’m SO tired of this false perception of what is “real” and what is “beautiful.” Can’t we just be normal, dammit?

  8. June 30, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    I am out based on their definitions. I am guessing that scars from surgery probably would not go over well. Great post!!!

  9. July 1, 2010 at 4:37 pm


  10. July 1, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Disgusting. We talked about this in my Soc of Gender class. How women can be more “real” now … like you know not size 00 … instead you can be a 4! woot! But they really can’t. Even the big businesses or others that are trying to gain more support by talking about real women aren’t really living by their words. Because even the Dove campaigns – the ones sanctioned by them – have women without stretch marks, tattoos, scars, moles, veins and other flaws. Yeah they have larger women… but those don’t even have cellulite! Nor do the size 00 … cellulite isn’t just a “bigger person” problem either.

    It’s disgusting & disturbing. I really hate living in a world where real natural beauty is not appreciated as it should be. A woman’s natural beauty of creating life, nurturing to birth and after, living life and the subsequent marks that prove it should be celebrated.

    Sorry … it’s kind of my soapbox I go off on.

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