Okay, so I’ve been emailed many times now by an agency asking me to use a certain product over a period of time and then do a ‘big reveal’ of myself (or a case-study) in my bikini on National Bikini Day in Covent Garden. National Bikini Day? Hello? National Blood Donation Day, National Breast Cancer Awareness Day, National No Smoking Day… hell, yes! To all of those. But, National Bikini Day. I think not.
I’ve said no to this with no fuss several times but they just won’t leave it alone. The premise is that the campaign will help women feel more confident about their bodies. How, exactly? How does using a body cream and then getting down to your undies in public so that a brand can flash it all over the internet help a woman’s confidence. Either you are confident in your body to do something like this or you are not and a body cream isn’t going to change it either way.
Thinking about if a lad’s mag asked women to pitch up in their bikinis so they could be photographed (and all the while documenting it pictorially on your blogs over a period of weeks, so one bikini shot isn’t ‘it’ just in case you wondered) I think we would be thinking very differently on the exact reason for the bikini exposure.
Let’s not confuse body confidence with sensationalism and an easy marketing win. I do wear a bikini on holiday and I wear it with confidence (although I might stop short at a game of beach volley ball in it ;-)) and I don’t much care what anybody thinks about my body. It’s not really anybody’s business but mine and it would be completely wrong for me to participate in a marketing campaign that implies that being seen more or less naked will ‘improve confidence’. I know the state of women’s confidence – it’s a precarious thing that changes almost daily and of ninety-nine compliments and one criticism the thing we remember is the one. I know it and confidence comes from an inner state, not an outer state.
It’s reminding me a lot of the Dove campaign for beautiful armpits. There never was a problem with armpits til they made it one. Same for all the ‘whitening’ products – mild skin pigmentation wasn’t ever really a big issue until a speckled egg told us differently and the only complexion to have now is one bare of any irregularities. How boring.
The beauty industry really needs to watch how it flogs its wares right now. We all know it’s a smoke and mirrors game, but it’s one we quite gladly play because there is such pleasure to be had from beauty products. But make it an unpleasant, confidence sapping experience and those scales will tip.
And, I will just add in that I am very well aware that Marketing Departments (who hold the budget strings) who have one remit only come up with or sanction this kind of campaign which then leaves the PR offices desperately trying to pick up the pieces when it all goes horribly wrong.
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I’m glad I’m not the only one who found this brand’s incessant need to email constantly quite tiring and somewhat…baffling. I doubt I’ll ever be behind a campaign which asks women to strip down to basically their underwear in one of the busiest parts of London with the thin veil of ‘show your new body confidence!’ poorly masking the real idea of ‘help us sell our products!’ It’s been done to death and these days it looks nothing short of lazy.
Going off at a bit of a tangent here but on the topic of irregularities, my Sunday indulgence has been watching old Catherine Cookson dramas in which the actresses and actors are untainted with Botox and fillers. Channel hoping between rolling news channels, modern dramas and the old Catherine Cookson dramas highlights how much more alive and vibrant the actresses and actors are in the old programmes because their faces are free to express emotion. It’s the only place on TV that you will see a whole furrowed brow and I don’t think it detracts from the actresses looks. I hope that the current obsession in fighting lines will pass because it takes a measure of the life out of a persons face.
I never paid much heed to the Dove armpits campaign because my bingo wings camoflage them nicely.
This is ridiculously well-written, in all the best possible ways. Well said, sharply edited, and exactly on point. Love the part about confidence and the “speckled egg.”
Bravo! I love it when you refuse to toe the line and say what you think. (After all, isn’t that what journalism is about?) Please, please keep it up!
well said that lady. I find it unpleasingly ironic sometimes that some (by no means all) beauty companies who are aiming their products and marketing spin at women are the ones most guilty of playing on our insecurities and in the worst cases, actually creating them! Thanks for focussing on the positive!
Well Said! I hate that they use women’s insecurities ( Created normally by advertising ) to sell products! And its so hard not to get suckered in, my beauty routine has grown so much over the last 10 years its nearly a part time job! But they have been very clever because if we stop or cut back on our products/beauty routines we feel we are letting our self’s down some how why????
Don’t get me wrong I love all things ‘Beauty’ its just I don’t want to be force fed it through advertising designed to undermine but enjoy it for what it is pure indulgent fun! And don’t get me started on air brushing!! Hope this isn’t a bit strong.
Hello to all and happy beautifying xxx