Why I Don’t Like ‘You Are Beautiful the Way You Are’ Campaigns


DeotarantChelsea Conaway  Feminist Wednesday University Ambassador

My friends know I am a feminist. So, from time to time, they send me links to articles or campaign websites that are (well intendedly I’m sure) meant to empower women. Many of these articles and campaigns have a similar focus: you are beautiful the way you are. And as I read about how all women are beautiful regardless of societal beauty norms, I can’t help but think… why the hell do I need you to tell me I am beautiful? As I said, I am sure these articles and campaigns are put together with the best intentions. They want to make women feel good about how they look and counter the harmful message that beauty can only come in a tall, blonde, size 0 package. But I find a big fault with this. It is still perpetuating the message that beauty is essential for women. It is still parading half-naked women across magazine ads and television commercials (I’m looking at you Dove Campaign for Real Beauty), and it is still trying to make me feel good about someone else telling me I am beautiful. While I am in no way advocating low self-esteem, I still find myself wondering why these campaigns are telling me that beauty should be important to me.

If you think I am being unfairly critical about well-intended messages, think about this: where are the, “You are handsome just the way you are,” campaigns aimed at men? Is self-esteem not important for males, too? The absence of similar messages for men suggests that physical appeal is still more important for females than it is for males. It is so important that all of us short brunettes who can’t squeeze into a size 0 need other people to tell us that we are beautiful. But I say: screw you Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. I am comfortable in my skin, and I do not need affirmations of my physical appeal from my deodorant. Beauty is not one of my top priorities, and that is okay. I judge myself based on my intellect, achievements, talents, kindness, and passions. There is so much more to me than a short brunette wearing underwear. I am a thinking and feeling woman who doesn’t give a damn about whether or not others think I am beautiful.

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