Jennifer Millard’s Performing Beauty

Jennifer Millard’s Performing Beauty: Dove’s “Real Beauty” Campaign was a study conducted on the results of the companies directed audience, women. In the study Millard explains that Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign is a collection of advertisements that promote and empower beauty for women.
Millard’s study shows how she connects her definition of beauty towards a significant viewpoint by explaining how it is the culture that determines what would be deemed as beautiful. This seems to be flawed because while the media decides how certain things should be, most of society’s so called standards were created by the society themselves. While the people themselves may have certain opinions on specific topics, the media elaborates on the opinions society holds and makes them more deemening then they actually are.
For instance, in Millard’s study she shows that in an advertisement for Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign, A naked, overweight, middle-aged African American woman. This initially was the first advertisement that got a negative reaction from the focus groups. “Sasha: Sometimes I’m like ew, I wonder why is this even in here? …Monica: She’s naked and like oh no!” (Millard 164), these reactions had came from the youngest aged group, as it reflects the negative perspective regarding that of nudity that the media has created against overweight, colored women.
Society as whole has heavily influenced the public’s opinion on that of nudity, and has transformed into an act to be seen not within the public eye, but instead in a private setting. The media has even gone as far as taking that viewpoint of nudity and voluntarily imposed it to mold to be more tolerable throughout society as this phenomenon is demonstrated within all forms of entertainment including that of advertisements and films. However it only displayed if the people who are naked are considered beautiful enough.
Opposing my argument one could state that only one of the focus groups in Millard’s study had a negative reaction to the advertisement. The focus group that responded negatively to the advertisement was also the focus group that had the youngest age group amongst the others. Their response to the advertisement can be explained due to the fact that they have not had much experience with advertisements that don’t fit the social norms,compared to the other groups which had a greater experience when such advertisement. Millard had addressed within her article that a certain advertisement was one of Dove’s daring studies, and had anticipated that it would have had the greatest reaction compared to the other campaigns in the advertisements.
Millard’s article also highlights the idea of privilege that society allows the media to construct within the aspiration of beauty. Classifying as beautiful in today’s society, the media almost makes this shift in power that only those considered beautiful can have and strengthen the potential within majority groups.”Beautiful people are viewed as more intelligent, powerful, healthy, and of higher class than the masses of regular Joes and Janes (Plous and Neptune 1997).” (Millard 150). In ensuring that this idea of privilege gets implemented everywhere, and that not every person can have this privilege, the media pushes these extreme expectations that are the beauty standards women are to fulfill in achieving this so called beauty.
To a degree Millard’s article makes valid points on this topic allowing me to agree with its many factors including that of everyone who is not categorized as beautiful has seen this form of privilege provoked by the media. Whether one is looking at a magazine article or by simply even watching on the tv, the privilege of the quote on qoute beauty is boasted upon the not so beautiful majority. Throughout Doves Real Beauty Campaign, there is a significant effort in promoting the equality of beauty in women, regardless of age, race, and size.
Dove’s campaign message, is ultimately and attempt to eliminate the privilege that only women deemed as beautiful receive, as a result of the media’s influence on society. Although this campaigns goal are that of containing positivity within that of women, all in all Dove is just a company trying to make a profit. Millard defends this by stating that “This study looks closer at how women arrive at their interpretations, rather than only listening to what they say; as a result, I explore the processes of creating the self, beauty, and a public body image”. (Millard 166)
This is not the case as Dove is advertising with the message that their products will make woman who buys it more beautiful than they are. Stating that every women is already beautiful, and that they can embrace their beauty by becoming the consumers of a company that misrepresents the social group of women virtually assuming that no women knows their true beauty, and will never see it unless utilizing the products of an adverse manufacturer.
Although the Dove Real Beauty Campaign is not the only solution towards changing the corrupt view of beauty that the media projects, Jennifer Millard’s study discusses a multitude of efforts that the campaign offers to women in a fair matter, ultimately benefiting the Real Beauty Campaign, and creating a positive content surrounding that of the media.