[Recommended]Feminist Consumerism and Fat Activists: A Comparative

Feminist Consumerism and Fat Activists: A Comparative Additionally, such gendered beauty depictions are significant because they allow the campaign to associate youth, slenderness, and conventional…

Feminist Consumerism and Fat Activists: A Comparative
Additionally, such gendered beauty depictions are significant because they allow the campaign to associate youth, slenderness, and conventional beauty (like beautiful hair) with the Dove brand, while simultaneously opening the door to a handful of deviations (like the slightly protruding stomach) that help to construct brand loyalty. This is part of a gender- specific marketing strategy that cultivates brand loyalty using models and imagery that women can identify with, while conveying an appearance of corporate philanthropy (Corbett 2006). The occasional image of an aging wrinkled face or a protruding stomach fits within consumer capitalism’s need to continually incorporate deviant images (Bordo 1993, 25; Frank 1997; Frank and Weiland 1997). Thus, Dove channels women’s dissent to rebuild its brand, while also deflecting attention away from the con- ventional depictions of feminine beauty relied upon in Dove marketing. By acknowledging that most women do not possess conventional beauty, the Dove campaign also allows them to participate in a critique of narrow beauty norms while encouraging women to “make peace with beauty” by channeling negative energy into self-acceptance, self-worth, and self-care via Dove products. In this sense, Dove’s attempt to democratize beauty is deeply disingenuous. It is illogical in that it denies the hierarchical nature of beauty standards, and it is ideological in that it obscures the multiple sites where hegemonic beauty ideals tend to cluster (with thin, white, privileged women finding it easier to achieve hegemonic beauty ideals). Furthermore, the democratic ethos underlying the campaign (e.g., voting on whether a woman is fat or fabulous) suggests that challenging un- healthy, Eurocentric beauty norms is optional, a consumer choice—not an urgent necessity for social change in a world where beauty ideals and social respect are linked to inequalities based on sex, race, class, and body size.

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