Archive for June 30, 2014

Media Monday: Dove “Real Beauty” Campaign

This week’s Media Monday comes from our Penumbra Summer Institute Intern, Awazi!

Dove Real Beauty

The Dove “Real Beauty” Campaign launched in 2004, and started as a “global conversation” to find the definition of beauty and what it means to people who identify as women.The original mission was to find The Real Truth About Beauty: As a widespread Global Report.  “Only 2% of women around the world would describe themselves as beautiful.” Dove went on a mission to change and “challenge the beauty stereotypes.” Dove wanted to create an atmosphere where people who identify as women could talk about their own beauty and be confident about it. During the first campaign Dove decided to use “real women whose appearance were outside stereotypical norms” that were traditionally shown in advertising to make a point that beauty can come in different shapes, shades and sizes. Dove’s Campaign even inspired others, for example in September 2006 “Spain banned overly thin models from its fashion runways.” This truly spoke to the campaign and added on to the debate. Dove responded in a short film called Evolution which “depict[s] the transformation of a real woman into a model and promot[es] awareness of how unrealistic perceptions of beauty are created.”  In 2007 Dove Beauty Campaign took an interesting turn as they narrowed in to the identities of woman and age. This campaign explained women aging and how that is not seen as pleasing for people who identify as women or society. The global study, Beauty Comes of Age viewed that 91% of women identified folks ages 50–64 believe that society needs to change their opinion on aging people. As a result of this, Dove held a celebration to acknowledge women of older age with wrinkles, age spots, and grey hair. This was made possible and created with “internationally renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz.” The campaign focused on people who identify as girls and women who feel capsized by the fact that people they see in magazines are unrealistic and altered. This increased awareness of the fact that beauty images impact self-esteem. In 2010 Dove paired up with the Girls scouts of the U.S.A, and Girls and Boys clubs of American to encourage a boost of self-esteem for the youth. They also included educational programs to motivate young girls.“Dove has reached over 7 million girls so far with these programs, and set a global goal of reaching 15 million girls by 2015.” For 2011 Dove has pushed the ball even further by conducting a much larger study of women identified folks’ relationship with beauty, this was called The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited. “The study revealed that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful, and that anxiety about looks begins at an early age.”  “Over 1,200 10-to-17-year-olds, a majority of those who identified as girls, 72%, said they felt tremendous pressure to be beautiful.” Very few girls and women use the word beautiful to describe themselves. Although the self-esteem levels of people who identify as women are very low, Dove is trying to make a difference to change that in a positive way! This Campaign is continuing to promote and spread awareness today.

I think dove is doing a great job of going to the source, real people, and asking them what they think beauty is. Even better, they found a problem and addressed it. They found that people who identify as women were not happy with their bodies or how they look. They also found women identified folks were not happy with not seeing their types of unique bodies in ads and commercials. Most of them had low self-esteem about their appearance and wouldn’t even call themselves beautiful and to me that’s truly terrible! We are all beautiful in our own ways! People who identify as women have had to be strong, have had to fight for their rights, and to me that’s beautiful! Beauty is not always about looking good or having the cutest shoes, beauty is being your best and sharing that wherever you go! I feel like Dove’s campaign is trying to share that beautiful information with everyone- no matter if they identify as a woman or not. I give Doves campaign a 10 out of 10!


What do you think? Feel free to rate this campaign review and comment below!


Here’s a link to a video of the Dove Campaign in action:



The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty.” The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty. UNILEVER , 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 12 June 2014. <>.


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Accepting Yourself

Contributed by Angel P-A

Angel P-A image

Growing up as a kid in a setting where most people had brown skin, black hair, and brown eyes made me feel out of place because my skin is white, my hair is light brown, and I have hazel eyes.

People would always look at me as if I was from another planet. Most people would also ask me, “Are you really Mexican?” or “Are your parents white/foreign?”

As a young boy, hearing these kinds of things made me feel weird and unhappy about myself. Even though most people didn’t say these things with malice, they still made me feel out of place.

To compensate, I would try to be outside as much as possible. I would play outside or just lie outside to catch the sun, to tan myself, and give my skin some color. I would also constantly ask my parents if I could dye my hair black to get rid of my natural light brown hair color.

My parents would always reply,  “Why would you want to do that? You are good just the way you are. You may not have the same skin tone, hair color, or eye color as most people from our background, but God still made you perfect the way you are.”

After hearing these words many times, I started to become more accepting of myself and started to embrace the qualities that made me different from others. I also realized that sometimes it is good to be different from everybody else, because that is what makes people standout and be special in their own way.

Learning to accept who you are can help you be at peace with your inner self. Once you accept the fact that your physical traits make you unique from everybody else, you will learn that you don’t need to be the same as most people to be happy. All you need to be happy is to accept yourself for who you are.

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Love Your Body Poem


This week’s Love Your Body piece comes from Awazi, our amazing intern through the Penumbra Theatre’s Summer Institute!

Those fingertips rejuvenate with endless life

Touch me with that beautiful soul

My darling

Light the room with that selfless smile

Fore it comes natural to you

Who is the artist that made

This masterpiece of art

Which makes up you

It is surely true

Those tranquil shapes

Has to be the definition of


I have not seen a more insightful


It comes with scars and hurt

And pain

That’s what I love

Because it has learned to heal


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Upcoming Advocacy Workshop!

The Emily Program FoundationInterested in being more involved in advocacy, with us or on your own? Join us next week for a workshop on writing letters to the editor! Whether you’ve been involved before or if this would be your first time visiting the Foundation, you are more than welcome. Please feel free to share and/or bring a friend 🙂

Here are the details:
Tuesday, June 24

Atrium Office
1295 Bandana Blvd W
Suite 210
St Paul, MN 55108

Questions? Email Julia and
*We are working to get food donations but please feel free to bring a snack/dinner!

Media Monday- time for a funny video

FYI: This video does contain adult humor! It originally aired on Comedy Central, so if that’s not your thing, just be forewarned.

Amy Schumer offers a hilarious take on the way we, as a culture, assign food moral value. Women identified folks in particular are expected to feel repentant for what they’ve eaten, and even the fact that they’ve eaten.

In this video, a group of friends spill confessions of meals and snacks alongside other ethically questionable behaviors that were often harmful to others- behaviors like cyberbullying, animal abuse, and recreating trauma- followed by, “I am so bad.” The friends all ignore the behavioral side to these confessions and absolve each other of the guilt of having eaten: “You can afford it!” “You don’t look fat at all.” “You always look great.”

Yeah, things are less funny if you explain them, but we want to pull apart a little bit about what makes this video so spot on. First, people are absolutely made to feel guilty about eating, especially certain foods and especially if the act of eating was enjoyable. We love that this video shows the ridiculousness of assigning moral value to something that is necessary for your survival. It isn’t “bad” to like and eat food, anymore than it is “bad” to like and drink water, like and breathe air, like and partake in sleep. We need those things to live! The absurdity of our cultural guilt is brought up by the juxtaposition of food confessions with confessions that actually raise some serious ethical questions.

Second, when the friends breeze past those ethical questions to reassure the confessor that their eating behavior was morally acceptable, they bring up other dangerous cultural assumptions that have become normalized. Most of the responses focus on body shape and size- the characters are giving each other permission to eat because they are all perceived as having thin bodies. In the eating disorder world, we know that health cannot be seen and that body shape and size does not tell you 1) a person’s health 2) how or what they eat or 3) whether or not they have a healthy relationship with food. Of course, this isn’t the message given by most media. So many factors affect body shape and size beyond eating behaviors! The compliments they give to grant each other permission to eat also show how ingrained a thin ideal can become in our minds. No confession addresses weight or looks- they all address food and eating behavior, but most of the responses are assuring that the speaker adheres to current beauty standards- “You’re stick thin.” “Your thigh gap is, like, the envy of every thigh gap.” Being stick thin and having a thigh gap were certainly not always considered part of having an ideal body and are not directly linked to food consumption at all. They also assure each other that the food is morally ok because of its content- “Those are like air.” “No, I think that’s, like, negative calories.” Food with more substance is seen as food one needs to especially earn, but foods that might be marketed as “guilt free” (all food should be guilt free!) due to their caloric content are “good” and don’t warrant confessions.

I love food

An example of how our culture gives people permission to eat and enjoy food based on their body shape and size


Lastly, the video brings to light the danger of this type of fat talk. Although the friends are intending to give compliments, by bringing discussion of food to assurances about each other’s bodies- and assurances that their bodies fit certain ideals- they are just perpetuating the root causes of why they feel the need to confess in the first place. This side of fat talk can be harder to see and harder to stop, because intentions are meant well. But telling someone, “It’s ok that you ate, you are obviously thin” just reinforces the notion that you have to be thin to be worthy or food and enjoyment of food and the notion that a body with fat in undesirable. I think the makers of this satire were aware of this, especially with comments like the joke about a thigh gap- are there better and worse thigh gaps? That line definitely earned a chuckle.

So, here’s to media calling out the problems and dangers in some of our deeply rooted cultural ideals and assumptions- and all done with a smirk and a giggle.


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