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Apr 09 2011

Spinster aunt continues to be irked by Dove soap ads

The brilliant Sarah Haskins vanished from the infoMANIA television show in January 2010, and has somehow managed to elude Google on the subject of her current professional status. This is sad news for rabid fans like me, who would much prefer that, regardless of the personal costs to her, Haskins keep cranking out quality feminist entertainment that I can consume for free on the internet anytime I want. Fortunately, Haskins’ legacy — like that of all minor pop culture figures whose body of work can be downloaded in chunks measuring 480 x 390 pixels — lives on, on YouTube.

For those unfamiliar with Haskins’ erstwhile “Target Women” gig on Current TV, her recurring segment entailed 3 satisfying minutes of comedy jokes satirizing femininity marketing. Laundry products. Cleaning products. Chick flicks. Vampires. Beauty products.

I got to thinking about “Target Women” today when, laid up in front of the tube with a fucking sprained ankle, another one of those Dove soap commercials savaged my optic nerves. Dove’s got a new science ingredient. The ingredient is called Nutrium Moisture. Nutrium Moisture is a science molecule composed of blue and orange Skittles. It looks like this.

If you think you can get away without using Nutrium Moisture, think again, old fruit. “Cleansing” can really fuck you up if you don’t do it right. I took Dove’s Skin IQ Test and was amazed to discover how low my Skin IQ is! Did you know that using a towel can be dangerous? And this question was certainly a toughie:

Healthy skin is, by universal decree, illustrated by a scantily clad young woman caressing herself.

Incidentally, does anybody except a soap company use the word “cleanse”?

“Great pâté, Mom, but I gotta biff off to cleanse.”

Here’s what cleansing looks like on a scientific level:

This science picture shows how the surface of your skin is actually a miniature Chuck E Cheese foam ball sinkhole

Not surprisingly, this shit is just so annoying I decided to give Dove another Ditwuss Award. A Lifetime Achievement Ditwuss.*

Dove, a brand of femininity products manufactured by global conglomerate Unilever, has already earned a couple of Ditwuss Awards for its adroitness in preying on women even as it pretends to give a crap about them, most notably with its supremely bogus “Campaign for Real Beauty.” Apparently the concept is working like a charm; like a race of maniacal overlords, they keep spewing the same poisonous self-esteemy propaganda year after year.

I complain about this company’s stupid ads all the time, not because they are the most outrageous (which they’re not), but because they are the most insidious. Insidious because Dove sells butt cream by telling an increasingly funfeminist audience what they want to hear. Dove knows that beauty standards are impossible, Dove is the first to admit that models are all fotoshopped, Dove agrees that being super-thin isn’t good for you. So, for you “real” ladies out there, Dove piously continues to take a stand against all this phony beauty nonsense, by gum. Beauty is now healthy and clinically therapeutic and desirable and attainable (through Dove products) by regular women.

This confidential-yet-authoritative “we’re on your side” tone is so transparently calculated to erode consumers’ defenses against the actual message, it makes me want to pull my own head off. This actual message, which has remained unchanged since the dawn of time, is the same for all purveyors of femininity swag:

“Beauty is your sacred duty.”

No matter how the beauty industrial complex defines it, as a member of the sex class you are obligated to concern yourself inordinately with the pursuit of it. Of course, by universal decree, you’ll always be a day late and a jar of carcinogenic, ecotoxic butt cream short.

Fortunately, looking at Dove’s improbable beauty molecules was a great excuse to revisit the Sarah Haskins video.

_________________
* Ditwuss = “DTWS” = “degrades the whole species”. Winners of the Ditwuss Award embody those misogynist, heteronormative, dudeliocentric attributes that most make Savage Death Islanders wanna puke

91 comments

1 ping

  1. Bushfire

    I gotta say, Twisty, the more I read your blog, the more I want to marry you.

    Two things: Unilever also makes Axe body spray, the commercials of which are much less woman-empowering than the Dove ads. I may have gotten this information from a previous post of yours.

    Also, there’s an awesome comment on 30 Rock about Dove. At some point, in some episode, the topic of compulsory “beauty” for women comes up, and Liz Lemon says “It’s like those Dove ads never happened!” It had me roaring!

    Enjoy Sarah Haskins, everybody. Her ad analyses are some of the best things on the internet.

  2. Anonymouse

    http://twitter.com/#!/sarah_haskins

    If you feel the need to internet-stalk her, nothing beats Twitter.

    I think that second graphic is supposed to be of the emulsifying molecules in soap reacting with the phospholipids in the cellular membranes of skin cells. Of course, the outer layer of skin is dead and constantly sloughs off and is replaced, so it doesn’t actually hurt you to damage dead parts of your body.

    If they really wanted to get all sciencey, they’d mention that the best thing you can do to improve the health of your skin is wash it less. I’m not going to hold me breath, though.

  3. Sarah

    The best thing about Sarah Haskins, in my opinion, is I can point ANYone at her funnies, and they instantly “get it.” Explaining feminism to your friends can be challenging at times, especially when they’re funfeminists or worse. So when the tough gets going, I show ‘em the yogurt bit. They titter and guffaw, and they’re a couple steps closer to being primed for IBTP. Baby steps, baby steps…

  4. Sarah

    “Going gets tough” not the other way ’round. Whoops.

  5. Clarissa

    I actually think it’s a great thing that Dove puts normal women instead of half-starved models in their ads. As for the fact, that they push their product, what else can they do other than just go out of business? They are a company, they’ve got to sell their stuff. It seems kind of strange that you attack Dove rather than those companies who employ 15-year-old models to push anti-aging cream on us.

  6. Bushfire

    Do they have to sell their stuff, really Clarissa? Does the world need anti-ageing cream? Do they need to stay in business? Should we refrain from attacking companies?

    To get philosophical, I would say that we DON’T need companies to create products we don’t need and create a demand for those products using ads. Especially when those ads have negative psychological effects on the viewers. I would also say that companies that create things we don’t need do not need to stay in business. Why don’t we ONLY keep the companies that make things we do need, like food, clothing, furniture, houses, etc.

    Finally, why shouldn’t we attack Dove? Because they put conventionally attractive size 10 models in their ads instead of size 4 models, (when the average woman is size 14), that means they are Way Better Than Other Companies? Even though the same company that sells Dove products also sells many other products which DO use size 4 models to sell those things?

  7. Frumious B

    “This is sad news for rabid fans like me, who would much prefer that, regardless of the personal costs to her, Haskins keep cranking out quality feminist entertainment that I can consume for free on the internet anytime I want. ”

    Oddly enough, Jill, that is exactly how I feel about you!

    @Clarissa: As long as Dove sells ass cream, they are fair targets, no matter what size their models wear.

    Ass cream, people. No company that sells ass cream has your best interests at heart.

  8. JRoth

    I was missing Ms Haskins as well a few months ago. My research indicated that she was due to have a baby some time in the last year, and was primarily using Twitter to enlighten the masses. As it were.

    And yeah, I could see giving Dove some fraction of a pass if it were merely a company trying to sell problematic products in the least problematic way possible. But as the Axe link indicates, it’s 100% marketing, 0% enlightenment. Fuck them.

  9. Jill

    Dove sells beauty products. Beauty products. I wouldn’t give’em a pass if their models were 350-pound 97-year-olds with psoriasis and brown teeth.

  10. Jaunty Angle

    Unilever, parent company of Dove, also sells skin whitening cream at brown people. Because they care about real beauty, except if you are brown-skinned, have “cellulite”, have wrinkles, have hair anywhere except on your head, are fatter than the largest woman in the Real Beauty Butt Cream ad, and so on.

    If you’re missing Sarah Haskins, try some Lesley Kinzel: “there was tremendous freedom in surrendering the idea that subjectively feeling — if not objectively being –beautiful was a requirement of a happy and fulfilling life. This is not to suggest that people shouldn’t feel good about themselves, or even “pretty”, as the occasion warrants — my point is that this feeling should not be the necessity and the compulsion that it is, and that when it occurs, it should neither be underscored nor negated by the response of the majority, according to what masculine doctrine finds most valuable.” http://blog.twowholecakes.com/2010/09/the-pretty-thoughts-on-appearance-based-privilege/

  11. tinfoil hattie

    “We were practically face-Amish.”

    I miss her, too.

  12. JRoth

    Yeah, I know, “beauty products.” But my ugly, grumpy, 70-y.o. German father in law uses certain “beauty products” because his skin is pathologically dry, and they help. So I’m willing to accept that not every cream and emolument is a tool of the patriarchy.

    Or at least not solely so.

  13. humanbein

    Marketing is the business of creating and enforcing hierarchies in order to exploit artificial desire. On Savage Death Island, one would hope that there would be none of it. Old people who need remedies for the dry skin would find natural relief from the magical plants and refreshing waters in this paradise in our minds. Here in the real world we deal with what we have, and thankfully, deal with it without the illusion that this is the way it SHOULD be.

  14. Jill

    An actual medical condition (“pathologically dry skin”) is not the equivalent of a trumped-up beauty issue (“body aging”). But the beautyceutical industry has successfully blurred the line.

  15. madeleine

    >Incidentally, does anybody except a soap company use the >word “cleanse”?
    Well, there’s “ethnic cleansing”…

  16. Shopstewardess

    madeleine: yes.

    The list of chemicals in skin creams is scary. Even a skin cream marketed as “simple” or “organic” is likely to have more than 20 chemicals in it. Sadly, the same also seems true of sun block and this is harder to avoid, even given the possesion of a direputable selection of wide-brimmed mens’ hats.

    Sarah Haskins has not made the skin care vid available in the UK, but I remember the yogurt one with fondness.

    I suspect skin-care companies might have trouble finding a 350-pound 97-year-old: obese people generally don’t make old bones. Obese men in particular usually die before collecting much pension. This fact cheers me every time I come across a beer-bellied misogynist.

  17. Sylvie

    Perhaps cleanse sounds like the word clean but doesn’t guarantee it. Inspired by (or lifted from),

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOYCkHFMnVc

  18. Treefinger

    Well, my dear old grandmother is 83, not quite 350 pounds, has psoriasis AND arthritis along with female pattern balding. I would love to see her in a beauty ad. Not one that flogged a product, but that defined beauty as something that has little to do with physical appearance (though, it’d probably be better to dump the world “beauty” altogether and just go with “this woman’s just grand”).

  19. Citizen Jane

    And I should close my html tags. Doh.

  20. speedbudget

    I have such dry skin that doctors constantly comment on it like it’s some kind of shocking thing to them. I find that lotions and creams and such don’t really work. You know what works? Am-Lactin. It smells awful because of the uric acid in it and it doesn’t feel all nice and creamy on your hands, but put that shit on your feet or elbows or skin and after a couple days your skin is soft and supple and “radiant.”

    Screw you, Unilever.

  21. Comrade Svilova

    Haskins’ 48 minute “how the media made me a perfect woman” is freaking brilliant. My life has just become about 20% better from discovering Haskins. Thank you, Twisty.

  22. Bushfire

    Um, speedbudget, isn’t uric acid, um, pee?

  23. Dawn

    @Clarissa (and Dove, for that matter): I take issue with implying that models and other thin women aren’t “real” or “normal” people. All women are real people. Period. Some may respond to the patriarchal pressure by starving themselves, and some are just naturally thin and can’t gain weight if they tried. They are still real people to me.

    That is not to say that I agree with only thin women being portrayed in the media. I don’t agree with that at all. But this idea that thin women aren’t real women only serves to divide us.

  24. laxsoppa

    Bushfire, no, it’s not. Much in the same way citric acid is not lemon juice.

  25. ew_nc

    “I suspect skin-care companies might have trouble finding a 350-pound 97-year-old: obese people generally don’t make old bones. Obese men in particular usually die before collecting much pension. This fact cheers me every time I come across a beer-bellied misogynist”

    WTF? Have you swallowed the the pseudo-science claim that obesity always equals early death?
    And there are just as many misogynists who do not have a beer belly as there are those that do. Body shape and size does not correlate to a person’s character.

  26. Jezebella

    Thanks, ew_nc, for also noting the random swipe at fatties. Thanks Shopstewardess, for injecting a little fat-hating into your blaming. It’s so nice to wake up, visit Savage Death Island, and find it’s not even safe here for a fat girl: because, look! Yet another person snickering about how fat people are gonna die soon. Really.

  27. Ruby Lou

    This site is one of my central go-to online stations because after a few solo days in the wilds of Consumistan, I need an injection of sanity, and this place amply supplies it. Especially when discussing ads for products. It’s a healing balm to my jaded soul to behold a simple reminder that the geeked-out commercial messages of product pushers are not normal, not safe, and not true.

    I’m spending my day off gorging myself on Sarah Haskins YouTubia, having never heard of her before now. Thanks, Twisty.

  28. stacey

    @ Bushfire: urea or uric acid, synthetically produced, does not smell. Urea is a humectant which helps skin retain water; uric acid is helpful in breaking down the structure of cells, allowing skin to slough off.

  29. Friend of Snakes

    “Random swipe”? I thought 350 pounds @ 97 years old being generally rare was mighty specific.

  30. antiporn activist

    Here is a compare and contrast video of Dove and Axe, both owned by Unilever.
    Halfway down the page next to the Unilever icon:
    http://www.oneangrygirl.net/girlcotts.html

  31. Comrade PhysioProf

    Um, speedbudget, isn’t uric acid, um, pee?

    No, it isn’t. Mammals excrete nitrogenous waste mostly as urea, which is much more soluble in water than uric acid. Birds excrete uric acid into their poop, which is the white stuff. Pee contains other stuff than nitrogenous waste, including excess salt.

    In relation to dry and/or itchy skin, I swear by Aveeno skin relief body wash, and use it on both body and hair. It is unscented, uncolored, and contains colloidal oatmeal, whatever the fucke that is. The shitte is great.

  32. Saurs

    ‘Random swipe’? I thought 350 pounds @ 97 years old being generally rare was mighty specific.

    “Random” because hur-de-huring over Awful Fat People’s Impending Doom is an incongruous non-sequitur, at best, in a post decrying oppressive beauty standards.

  33. buttercup

    ew_nc and Jezebella, thank you. I was getting all stompy.

  34. Comrade Svilova

    High-five Saurs.

  35. Shopstewardess

    Oh dear. I didn’t mean to upset anyone. Apologies to all. I am happy to agree that it is disease which kills people and that neither weight nor age are diseases.

    I am currently having to negotiate a continuing professional relationship with a misogynist who happens to have a beer belly. I would dislike him, and the necessity of dealing with him, just as much if he did not have the beer belly.

  36. Friend of Snakes

    I definitely don’t want to get involved in an online war over fatness. But now that someone brought it up, I just wanted to mention something that really made an impression on me recently. For a while, I watched a lot of video showing the Japanese tsunami and its aftermath and began to notice that I wasn’t seeing anyone I’d call overweight. Not a single fat person. I searched for some numbers by country and discovered that the U.S. had ten times the number of people considered obese compared with Japan.

  37. Kathleen

    “now that someone brought it up”

    excellent segue, Friend of Snakes. I mean, who among us was not thinking 350 lbs ERGO tsunami AND ALSO no Asian fatsos TO CONCLUDE land of the fatty fatties you know who you are!

    but was just afraid to say so?

    It follows logically, really. I can’t imagine why you may have previously been involved in on-line wars over fatness, when you are just making excellent, on-topic points in the most ingenuous possible fashion.

  38. Friend of Snakes

    Kathleen, your response is why I just quit where I quit. So how about that uric acid, huh? You know, my friends the serpents thought up that solution before those johnny come lately birds. Guess it was a winner, but sometimes when you see those dried white rocks you think, ouch, how is that a good solution?

  39. Saurs

    Howls of derisive laughter, Bruce, at the notion that someone who actually theorizes Fatness as a (Disgusting but Useful) Tsunami-Repellant doesn’t want to get into an on-line war over something apparently trivial.

  40. Friend of Snakes

    Okay, Bob, shame on me for even replying, but fuck you sideways for being unable to discuss something without calling someone a dude just for the hell of it. Now back to beauty products. I don’t use them so I’ll leave you to it.

  41. AlienNumber

    The way I know a beauty-product commercial is completely asinine and bogus, hate speech in fact, is by replacing the lady in the commercial with a white dude.

    He ends up, inevitably, looking like an ass.
    Sometimes an oppressive ass (like in those cleaning-product commercials where a white guy always has to show the housewife how to use the new labor-minimizing product; because, ya know, she could not figure it out by herself).

  42. Comrade Svilova

    Potbellies may be attached to oppressors but they do not oppressors make.

  43. AlienNumber

    Shopstewardess, you are not allowed to call (some) oppressors drunken uglies and for sure as hell you are not allowed to make your own life easier to live by imagining (in your head that is) their ugly bodies dead sooner rather than later. That would be POLITICALLY INCORRECT or something. Plus, my own Nigel has a potbelly and he’s fantastic, how dare you?

    (just kidding. I don’t in a million years have a Nigel. Ew).

  44. Saurs

    Friend of Snakes, I wasn’t calling anyone a dude. It’s a quotation. Last I checked, calling someone a dude-in-disguise was the calling card of resident transphobes, a tactic a lot of folk heretofore have complained about as being a particularly shitty way of avoiding the topic at hand. The topic in this here post, in case you missed it, is the crap way in which women are constantly inundated with dire warnings and helpful suggestions by the body police, and here you come strolling in with a gigantic chip on your shoulder about fat people and the problems they cause and how they’re gonna die! and you wonder why people have got their backs up. Get a fucking clue, mate.

  45. Shelby

    Beautiful stuff Jill. Thanks for the larf.

  46. Sarah

    Sarah Haskins has a Twitter account if anyone wants to know what she’s doing now. http://www.twitter.com/sarah_haskins.

  47. Friend of Snakes

    “Friend of Snakes, I wasn’t calling anyone a dude. It’s a quotation.” Pshew, thank goodness. So can you help me “get a fucking clue, mate”? I’m not up on my Bruce quotations. Link please?

    “you come strolling in with a gigantic chip on your shoulder about fat people and the problems they cause and how they’re gonna die!” No really, I’ve no chip. But every time you open your mouth you keep saying things I never said, or implied, for that matter. So please quote where I talked about 1. the problems fat people cause 2.they’re gonna die!

    That’s right, you can’t. But why do I feel you’re just gonna keep making stuff up?

    Is your fall back position always to call women by male names, mate?

  48. Tigs

    Does it strike no one else as ironic that a thread decrying the commercial practices of body policing has been dragged off topic by derisive body policing?

  49. Roxy

    @Clarissa

    Apparently the Dove products don’t work as advertised. Even tho they use “real” women in their ads, the Photoshop gal still has to remove the undesirable features (wrinkles, freckles, excess flesh, etc.)

  50. Bushfire

    My goddess, what happened to this comment thread? It started off so well!

  51. TotallyDorkin

    The Blametariat is currently of a low quality.

  52. ginger

    “Howls of derisive laughter, Bruce” – google it, first link is Monty Python’s Flying Circus ep. 22, which is what you’re looking for. The “Bruces sketch” is pretty well-known stuff. Nobody’s really saying you’re male, FoS.

  53. gostephaniego

    Ahem, may I remind people that fatness is an oppression? We’re in the business of slamming oppresions here last time I checked, yes? This thread brings a very unpleasant reminder of the time I spent fighting body-policing liberals when our fair city’s fat n’stupid mayor rode into town.

  54. Robin

    The “tsunami repellent” puzzled me mightily. It seemed self-evident that, whatever one might think of making a point about the proportion of Americans considered obese and what makes for visual fatness, the mention of the tsunami was solely to give context for why one was seeing rather a higher number of Japanese people on TV than usual, and not to imply any causality other than newsworthiness.

    Fatness. A word encountered rarely enough by me to have its first brain-Google hit be this: “Doc, note, I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.” Mmm, palindromes.

    (Side anecdote of sorts: Much as I am still subject to the societal self-loathing of nonskinniness, in the past few years I’ve made peace with my potbelly, which I’ve had since at most 5 years of age, even in my relatively slender years. It makes carrying boxes much easier since it functions as a shelf right above my center of gravity.)

  55. speedbudget

    Bushfire: Ooops. I meant urea. LOLOLOL I was an English major. For us super dry skinners, urea is important in fixing the problem since it, together with lactic acid, work to keep the skin moisturized. Urea attracts water molecules it then holds on to. Am-Lactin does not spell like pee, but they don’t put any perfumes in their formula, so it just smells mildly unpleasant when you, say, shove your fingers in your face. But I cannot stress enough how well it works for dry skin. My feet are super dry and they tend to crack painfully. Couple days using Am-Lactin on them and I can be a foot model. No lie. It works beautifully, probably because the makers aren’t concerned about beautifying so much as making shit that works.

  56. tinfoil hattie

    I think all beauty products should be required to smell like pee.

  57. AlienNumber

    I apologize for the low quality of my previous comment. Now I know better: potbellies (especially when hanging on males) are obviously a signifier of Truth and Beauty and they should be more prominently featured in all Dove commercials.

    Also, are we for body-as-it-is acceptance (fat acceptance) or are we for body-modification (in the to-match-”inside sex” sense) acceptance? These 2 seem at conflict, as opposites to each other. One’s either again liposuction or for it type-of-thing, but can’t be for both at the same time unless cognitive dissonance is what one’s after.

  58. Jill

    I would argue, TotallyDorkin, that the Blametariat is in fact of high quality, but that remarks to the contrary, as well as fat jokes, sarcastic comments in support of fat jokes, and gratuitous obesity statistics, are not.

  59. Lovepug

    I just know I’m going to regret this, but here goes.

    If you’ve never been fat, it will take you some time to get why fat oppression – currently being rebranded under the guise of “The Obesity Epidemic” in order to make it sound like a medical problem not unlike “boding ageing” – is really a tool of the man.

    Our abhorrence of fat and overweight is ingrained within us at a young age, kind of like patriarchy. I know many a person who I would consider intelligent, thoughtful, enlightened and educated who will make knee-jerk comments about the evils of being fat.

    People are fat for very complicated reasons. None of those reasons includes lack of will power or weakness of character, the most widely discussed reasons. Things like stress, poverty and environmental estrogens which also contribute never get discussed. Likely because addressing any of that will not make anyone money. Shaming people to sell products is where it’s at.

    I would invite any Blamers who’ve never spend a day being fat to just consider for a moment what it’s like to live as a fat person in our patriarchally-fueled, beauty-obsessed culture. In short, you are reminded every single fucking day (and sometimes by the aforementioned intelligent people like one’s fellow Blamers) that you suck. Anything you bring to the table like your skills or kindness or creativity amount to diddly squat because you’re fat. And while I realize that men get dissed for being fat as well, women get an extra-special dose of fat shaming because not only are you going to DIE because you’re fat, being fat makes you un-fuckable in the eyes of the patriarchy. And we cannot tolerate having a bunch of un-fuckable women hangin’ around!

    And there is an army of pseudo-science and a juggernaut of leftover Victorian pearl-clutching over lack of body purity to back up any argument in favor of “fat people suck.” It’s my opinion that “But what about your HEALTH” is the body police equivalent to the patriarchy’s “But what about the MEN.”

    And Sarah Haskins rocks. Thanks for the twitter links to those who posted. I like the woman who does Modern Lady. She’s pretty wicked, but I do miss Sarah.

  60. Jill

    AlienNumber, your bid to reignite the transphobia wars with a false dichotomy is most unwelcome.

  61. Kathleen

    to go back to the original topic — I think Jill’s analysis of the sneakiness of the Dove “campaign for real beauty” is right-on, and one more dimension of its multi-dimensional sneakiness is that qualifier “real”. As is so often the case, supposed praise for women is actually a false-bottom suitcase, smuggling in real disdain for women.

    You know, the women at the sick center of the scorn vortex: Britney Spears and/or Paris Hilton usually being trotted out at the present historical moment. so FAKE, and SLUTTY, and DISGUSTING, with their dyed hair and boob jobs and their FLEETING I TELL YOU FLEETING youth and conformity to the standards of attractiveness wielded against all other women. For their conformity, of course, they are marked out for special hatred.

    The Dove “real beauty” campaign is another invitation to (fake) love on women via (real) hating on women. As such, some of its biggest fans are men who use it as an occasion to specify in detail what kinds of “real” beauty they admire and “fake” beauty they detest.

    But above all, it’s another sneaky headgame directed at women.

  62. ivyleaves

    “Urea attracts water molecules it then holds on to.” This can be a very bad thing for desert dwellers during times of low humidity in the environment. Much like gels, glycerine soaps, and other items used to attract moisture to “protect” the skin, when the air is less humid than your dry skin, you get a reversal of the intended effect.

    As for the Obesity thing, I have been disturbed ever since Obama put “fighting obesity” into the State of the Union address, I’ve been on alert. My son and I burst out in ironic laughs when we heard it – come on with everything that is happening in the US, “obesity” comes up? If he had mentioned healthy diets, better living, but NO we get the Hollywood bugaboo “YOU’RE FAT” even when you aren’t.

    Next we see all sorts of opportunities to donate to “fight obesity” campaigns. This is a way to legitimize fat hate, while getting near 100% unthinking support from the public, with a sprinkling of self-righteousness thrown in, and misogyny-flavored cherries on top.

    UGH!

    Also, the federal government added this to the certification requirements for Electronic Health Records, as if BMI means anything at all about health:

    Ҥ170.302 General certification criteria for Complete EHRs or EHR Modules.
    The Secretary adopts the following general certification criteria for Complete EHRs or EHR Modules. Complete EHRs or EHR Modules must include the capability to perform the following functions electronically and in accordance with all applicable standards and implementation specifications adopted in this part:

    (e) Record and chart vital signs.

    (2) Calculate body mass index. Automatically calculate and display body mass index (BMI) based on a patient’s height and weight.”

    In my opinion, it’s a way of pretending to reduce health care costs while providing a ton of new contracts to corporations. And, despite the lack of actual effect on health care costs, BMI will determine your rates for insurance, or your access to government care if that is what is being monitored.

  63. tinfoil hattie

    What color ribbon shall we have for FIGHT THE DEATHFAT? Pink is taken by Komen, Inc.; yellow has been conscripted to war; blue, of course, is for prostate cancer.

    The Obesity Epidemic so reminds me of The Empinkification of Breast Cancer (said the fatty-fat-DeathFatty named Tinfoil Hattie).

  64. toothfairy

    Wine geeks cleanse their palates (with Saltines, maybe) between slugs of boutique syrahs (owned by Unilever, maybe).

  65. Jezebella

    Ribbons the color of donuts, of course.

  66. Barbara P

    Here’s a short poem. Enjoy it or don’t:

    We loose women – sluts, fatties, bags, slags, hags:
    Fear us!
    We are the very symbols of death.
    Life will mark you, change you.
    Soon there will BE no “you”.
    All will be lost in eternal destruction.
    Order will yield to chaos.
    And your little block towers will crumble
    Under the might of this violent universe.
    Yet here we are, deviant women, wallowing in our decay,
    Our souls looking out at the stars.

  67. Barbara P

    P.S. Neither ass cream nor axe body spray will stop the inevitable destruction of us all.

  68. Bluepoint

    Took the quiz thanks to morbid curiosity, and I think my head popped clean off after the first question.

    “The outermost layer of your skin, known as the Stratum Corneum, is a protective barrier to the rest of your skin layers. If you think of the Stratum Corneum as a brick wall, some cells are proteins (which are similar to bricks), and others are lipids…”

    “some cells are proteins [...] and others are lipids”

    “cells are proteins”!? And bricks are houses, and a women is her skin? (Oh, wait!) I can only surmise that Dove, in the absence of any preexisting scientifimological knowledge whatsoever, researched this quiz (and probably their new butt-cream) with only the most cursory of Google searches.

    Can I get a biologist for cleanup in aisle five?

  69. Friend of Snakes

    Clearly there’s a place for everything, and this isn’t the place to mention fat. Sorry. Truly. The thing about all those not-fat Japanese really did hit me upside the head. But, again, sorry for sharing.

    I don’t partake much in the beauty products culture if I have to pay for it. Soap, shampoo, toothpaste, something to grease up the dead layer of skin and yes, a razor, which I (need to) use less and less these days. One benefit of aging.

  70. AlienNumber

    I don’t know what’s worse: false dichotomies or ass cream.

    (My apologies for typing/doing/muttering unwelcome things).

  71. tinfoil hattie

    Barbara P: Thank you very much. Beautiful poem.

  72. nails

    you’ll never get into a good school with a low skin IQ score

  73. Zeratfink

    Lovepug, because I know you wrote that with the fear that you were going to get bashed for it, and because I know exactly how that feels, I want to thank you for your comment.

    The amazing thing about fat prejudice is that just about anyone will participate. I’ve gotten the same unprovoked, insulting behavior from a homeless man and from a prosperous-looking middle-aged business type. In the great kyriarchy, the number one rule is, “Shit rolls downhill.” Pointing derisively at Fatty is a great way to scramble uphill a few inches, regardless of your starting perch.

    Some days, I want to wear a sign that says, “I get that you do not find me attractive. That is okay! You do not have to have sex with me. If I promise not to impose my DEATHFAT health care costs on you, I think we will have addressed any potential externalities related to the size of my ass. Now will you stop giving me grief on the subway?”

  74. veganrampage

    Thanks for the guffaws.
    Oprah flogs this reel beaut campaign, and she’s responsible for inflicting Dr. Filfth on us well. To boot, Unilever tortures animals needlessly, so I haven’t touched their products in decades. I actually stopped using Dove for this reason even though I was cheffing back then, and had to wash my hands 100 times a day. I now find the herbal Calendula gel to be most efficacious for dry skin.

    Anyone know if Hedgepig has stopped commenting entirely? Has she been spotted on the tubes elsewhere? We worry. I’ve been off-line for awhile in more ways than one. Thanks. Meowps!

  75. Must Think of a Name

    That’s disappointing, Barbara P. I was pinning all my hopes on ass cream.

  76. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Instead of spending a ridiculous amount of money on toxic butt-cream, I’m saving my cash for an industrial-sized pitcher of margaritas. Sorry, Unilever. My posterior, in its natural state, is one of the wonders of the universe.

  77. tinfoil hattie

    @Jezebella: baby-flavored donuts, natch.

  78. Hedgepig

    Hi veganrampage, here I am!

  79. nails

    Zeratfink- Maybe you could make a small flier that says that on it and hand it out when people are rude to you in passing? They would probably feel like assholes after that.

    I like fliers and pamphlets. A lot.

  80. Jezebella

    It’s also handy to print out business cards for that sort of thing. A la Adrian Piper, who had calling cards printed up that said “Dear Friend. I am black. I am sure you did not realize this when you made/laughed at/agreed with that racist remark” and things of that sort. Here’s a link to more on her: http://www.asu.edu/cfa/wwwcourses/art/SOACore/piper-art-review.html

  81. veganrampage

    Yay HP! It’s so unhip, and worser,totes uncool to show feelings about other inter feminists other than to rip them to fucking shreds but the clowder and I LOVE YOU!

    I truly love (care/respect) almost all of you here too, not that it matters.

    I know, I know.

  82. Tigs

    I am into you too, vr!

  83. Frumious B

    @Shopstewardess:
    “The list of chemicals in skin creams is scary.”

    Oh, good grief. The list of chemicals in acorns is scary. Can we get over the chemical thing, already? That scare tactic is just a marketing ploy.

  84. Jill

    There’s cyanide in apple seeds.

  85. Kimberly

    Jill, Does that mean that Johnny Appleseed was a very patient and subtle terrorist?

  86. shopstewardess

    @Frumious B: I used to have that attitude, until I started looking at the long lists of obscure (to me) ingredients in skin creams and shampoos, in order to try to work out which of those ingredients was making my life a misery because I was allergic to it.

  87. Katherine

    With many apologies for turning this into a cosmetic advisory thread, can I ask – any ideas on what to use? I use Dove because my skin is dry and it less drying than other products. I just don’t want to flake, but I also don’t want to support Unilever.

  88. Jezebella

    Try Cetaphil. As far as I know, there are no radfem objections to the company and it’s dermie-recommended. You can use the kind that you can just wipe off (instead of rinsing off) for extra moisture.

  89. picka

    Yes, mean people may use your weight an excuse to make fun of you, but it doesn’t logically follow from this that being obese isn’t unhealthy. Take about biting off your nose to spite your face.

  90. linda

    i’m going to have to agree with jezebella. when i was doing skin lightening treatment cetaphil was the only thing sensitive enough for my skin

  1. beauty, folly, and the patriarchy « Gingerrrama

    [...] “Spinster aunt continues to be irked by Dove soap ads” (2011-04-09): featuring Sarah Haskins’ “Target Women,” Dove’s Skin [...]

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