Monday, August 6, 2012

Dove’s “Real Beauty” Campaign: Girl Power for the Rest of us

They’re sprinkled in my hair like jimmies on an ice cream cone.  Wiry, gray hairs - just a smattering for now.  And you know what they’re telling me?  (No - not that I'm getting old!)

Actually I've decided those strands of salt signal that I've finally arrived.  I wouldn’t turn back the clock to my smooth, taut, purely brunette twenties.  I’m happy with who I am and where I’m heading.  I welcomed a sweet dose of new found confidence when I turned 40 – and it’s been a gift that’s kept giving.  Crow’s feet, laugh lines, squishy-back-fat and all – I’m loving life and just getting started.  Really!

So I don’t mind the gray hair.  Popular wisdom says it makes men look distinguished and sexy.  I say it makes women look wise and accomplished.  There!

So instead of washing that gray right out of my hair, I’m using Dove shampoo to keep my silver stylin'.  I guess you could say I’m a marketer’s dream, because I bought hook, line and sinker into their “Real Beauty” campaign.  You've seen the ads featuring voluptuous, smiling models.  It's likely they don't decline the frosty cupcakes at their kids' birthday parties.  You go, girls.

I’m not being paid to show my affection for Dove products - I'm truly smitten with the message and I happen to like their stuff.  But I love their campaign because most of the real women I know aren’t uber thin (OK - true confessions; I've never had to struggle much with my weight - but trust me when I say skinny girls are NOT exempt from body-bashing) or flawlessly made up or perfectly coiffed hair.  And I say we embrace that.  Perfect is over-rated.  Plus – my husband clued me in on a little secret.  Ready?  

What most men really dig is confidence.  It isn’t always easy to come by when so much of what we see and hear tells us we’re just not quite enough.

And I don’t know about you – but I’ve got two young daughters who are bombarded with images of the skinny ideal every day.  Part of becoming a woman is finding fault with their bodies, and I want to usher them into womanhood stacked with confidence – because they’re going to need it.

It might be easy for Beyonce (who is perfectly curved, God love her) to proclaim that girls run the world, but most of us mere mortal women struggle to achieve such rock solid empowerment.  I’m not talking about the stiletto-wielding femme-fatale sort of confidence – but one that showcases an empowered humility, generosity and grace. That’s real beauty.  Right, Dove?

So I say, rock what you’ve got.  Stay healthy, embrace life, and pursue your passions.  Stave off the negative voices in your head and utter sweet nothings to yourself.  Smile.  Give compliments - and receive them - freely.  Learn what you can from constructive feedback and let go of criticism from others.   Take joy in the little things, like when your delicious, smiling 6-year-old tells you you're the prettiest mommy on the planet.

That’s girl power for the rest of us.  (Oh - and go tell the ladies in your life about Dove!)

Enough about me - I want to know what's on your mind.  Chime in with your comments and tell me - what's your version of real girl power?  And for the gentlemen politely entering the Powder Room - what say you?  Do you want to share a little secret about what men really think? 

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