Before you read further, please watch the following video:
K, got it? Dove, through their Real Beauty campaign, which began a decade ago, throws a glove to the ground at the feet of art directors, graphic designers (moi), and photographers everywhere. Through this passive aggressive ad spot, they slander these professionals while trying to persuade gullible consumers to suckle the teet of their empathy-based ad campaign.
I’m angry about this. No, I’M BLOODY FURIOUS.
As if it wasn’t hard enough for designers to get respect and appreciation for what they actually do, Dove, one of the larger players in a design, marketing, and photography heavy industry, has the audacity to point the finger and call out innocent people?
Let me think for a second and get this straight – Because designers, art directors, and photographers want meet the desires of their CLIENTS, which sometimes calls for extensive Photoshop editing, the blame is automatically passed to them? Well Dove, I’d like to help you understand the actual scenario if a designer, photographer, or art director told their client that they wouldn’t follow a direct request. In this case, the request is to manipulate a model’s photo to become more attractive via editing:
CLIENT: That model looks a bit too pale in this photo. Also, could you tuck her waist in a bit to make her a bit more shapely?
DESIGNER: I can’t do that. I think it makes you look like you lack integrity and honesty about your product. Also, it perpetuates an unrealistic physical expectation for women to follow, sometimes leading to cases of depression and self hatred. I can’t ethically support that.
CLIENT: Okay, you’re fired.
*Subsequently, the designer, already underpaid as it is, and after providing the rational explanation that Dove would love to hear, loses money, time, a client, and respect due to not catering to the client’s concept. After this continues happening due the American addiction to really good looking women, the designer dies because Ramen Noodles become too expensive.
How Dove can even begin to blame a designer is beyond me. Are they really trying to make me feel guilty by placing the weight of this stereotype directly on my shoulders? Sure feels that way, and it’s asinine.
Instead, why doesn’t Dove call out the clients that desire excessive Photoshop work on their models? Or call out the fashion industry for using size -6 models instead of size 6 models? Or call out the models for not speaking out about self-image issues? Or call out anyone other than the art directors, designers, or photographers who are actually just doing their jobs, and who would otherwise lose said jobs if they can’t follow through on a client’s request.
I could go ahead and call Dove out as well. I could discuss the fact that they, in reality, do post-production work on photographs used in their Real Beauty campaign. I could mention that Pascal Dangin, a photo retouch professional, admitted to retouching work being done within this campaign, though shorty thereafter he caved and retracted after coming under fire. I could do those things, but there’s too much work to be done. I’ve got to retouch Rosie O’Donnell into Kate Upton.