Thursday, October 26, 2006

Real beauty

Via this post at Danielle Bean, I know that the Dove Campaign For Real Beauty has been discovered by folks in her blog neighborhood (Catholic, mommy blogs mostly.) Mrs. Bean has asked for some discussion on the matter, if you're interested. If you haven't seen the short video that's prompted the buzz, I suggest you do. It shows a real woman being made up, photographed, and then her image computer-enhanced for a billboard ad. It's a slick way of pointing out that what passes for beauty in marketing is often faked, and not even within reach of real women.

As a good companion piece, may I suggest "Inside Out"? It's a 51-second film from Jewish Impact Films. Go here, and scroll down. (As of post time, it was third down on the left.) What I like about it is that it goes beyond the Dove film's emphasis on looks.

Something else you might put in your arsenal when dealing with girls or women who want to look like models is that fashion shoots have been known to involve the use of lots of pins and clips and tape and other such fun stuff, to make the clothes hang just so. This is not to mention all the lighting expertise and equipment, and so on. In short, even those models don't look like that, not without the sort of help you can't take around with you on an everyday basis.

Several years ago I was on a job that involved being on set for a television commercial shoot. It was a low-budget shoot, but even there they stopped filming frequently so the hairstylist could spritz the actress's hair with a fine mist of water, to give it the proper bounce, and so the make-up people could swarm over both the actor and the actress to repair even the slightest smudge or fading of lipstick or foundation or eye shadow or mascara. It was unreal. (Which, of course, is the point of the Dove film.) If I could have somebody following me around spritzing my hair just so and brushing it with a practiced hand every few minutes I'd have phenomenally bouncy hair, too, I'd bet. ;)

On a different front, although it was marketed to girls, I'd recommend that parents check out the out-of-print book Lisanne, a Young Model (often listed with Betsy Cameron as author, although it's written in the first-person from Lisanne Falk's point of view). (Barnes & Noble Link: Out of Print, Used & Rare) The synopsis reads "Fourteen-year-old Lisanne Falk describes her career as a photographic model." Most of it is innocuous - she comes across as a nice kid - but there are some sections I think show clearly some of what's wrong with the fashion and glamour industry, especially when it tries to make kids come across as sexy. It also helps explain, I think, how so many fashion models managed to be doe-eyed in the days before fauxtography (as I see it's being called these days). Many of them were doe-eyed because they were teens and pre-teens being passed off as women. Many of us knew that then, but I'm not sure people remember.


Bookworm said...

I worry about my daughter, coming of age in an airbrushed world. These are good links. I'm showing my daughter the Dove film, and I'm linking.

Kathryn Judson said...

Bookworm, Thanks for the link. You definitely reach a different audience than Mrs. Bean, and it's nice to see the word getting spread like this.