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Whenever I discuss the issues of beauty, self image and the media – in a critical way – people instantly mention the Dove campaign for “Real Beauty,” invariably saying, “Wasn’t that wonderful, for a change?” Yes. And no. Because (a) it was heavily retouched in Photoshop by Pascal Dangin (b) Dove is owned by Unilever, which sells Slim Fast and the #1 skin whitening cream brand in Asia (c) the ultimate purpose of the ad is to sell a product – and smartly so, by differentiating the brand with the illusion that what they care about is real beauty (their sales shot up 700% in the UK with the – albeit retouched – Pro Age campaign showing older women). For more on Dove’s corporate hypocrisy, check out this earlier post: “An Egregious Example of Corporate Hypocrisy: Dove’s “Real Beauty” Campaign.

Indeed, if you examine it closely, a Chomsky quote would be really appropriate regarding Dove’s “Real Beauty” (Photoshopped) campaign:

One of the ways you control what people think is by creating the illusion that there’s a debate going on, but making sure that that debate stays within very narrow margins.

Now, criticism aside, once every blue moon a campaign comes out carrying  a positive, empowering message to women with no strings attached. No products to sell. No corporate image to make-over. Just pure, undiluted positivity. It’s the case of the award winning PSAs by the wonderful organization Girls Inc.

Their YouTube page does not allow embedding the video on external sites, so click on the link below to open up the video in a new window:


Girls Inc. “Tell Me”

The first time I watched it, it almost made me choke up…

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