Skepchick Quickies 4.16


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. That Dove thing would actually be really interesting to do with both men and women outside the area of trying to sell soap.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. I’d also love to see a more controlled experiment where the artist doesn’t know whether the person is describing themselves or somebody else. Maybe get outside observers to give subjective reports of attractiveness of the sketches. That should get some interesting data on self-reports vs descriptions of others. Do men think they’re more attractive then they are? Do women think they’re not (as the ad seem to imply)? Do men describe women as being more or less attractive than they are and how does that compare with how women describe men and themselves? Ah, the former Psych major in me comes out again. As for the safety tips, I’m going to organize a “Fedora Walk” so that all those misandrists know that a hat is not consent. When will people learn? ;)

      1. I was mainly thinking of it as a fun art project since I’m not a scientician. But yeah, it would be an interesting study kind of social study too. And yes, with a broader base of people as well. A bajillion variants of these could be made as well – men describing men vs women describing men, women describing women vs men describing women, age groups, all sorts of variants. Perception is interesting.

    2. Besides the gender gap, I saw a huge lack of body diversity in that ad. There were literally no people even on the chubby side, let alone anyone fat. Also no disabled people or people with eating disorders or body dysmorphia. Personally I would love to see how trans* people (in varying stages of transition) are described by both cis people and other trans* people – I have heard many times that trans* people have a hard time being objective about their appearance, and there are whole internet communities devoted to helping each other “pass” (the politics of passing being a whole other complicated issue). Since there are so few sociological studies done for trans* people that are trans-positive and life-affirming this is one that I think could make a huge impact in the trans* community.

      1. Have you seen their ads where they try to show “real” women? I.e. *slightly* overweight women who are still perfectly proportioned and not representative of real women’s bodies in the least? http://nymag.com/thecut/2010/03/plus-size_models_in_ads_may_ju.html
        I’d like to see trans women too…but not associated with this evil company. Dove soap is literally made from the rendered fat and body parts of murdered animals and then tested on other animals. Disgusting.

        1. using tallow to make soap isn’t exactly uncommon. If it makes them evil it makes most soap companies evil.

        2. I, too, am sick of fake women in ads. Why do they have such a grudge against real women, made of baryonic matter like decent folks? We need to end this discrimination of only showing antimatter and dark matter entities in advertising. It sends the wrong message to young girls.

          1. As a fake woman (and a fake geek girl, of course), I would like to at least see my people represented eating our natural diet, such as I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Egg Beaters, and Tofurkey.

    3. So here is my issue with it. They put the fault back on the women, a la silly women for not believing you’re so pretty. There’s no real validity here as a study since the view point that you aren’t good enough is beaten into people (but particularly women) from a very young age. The cause of the issue isn’t with the women themselves but lies with the beauty and advertising industries instead, which an advertisement meant to sell more beauty products is never going to address.

  2. Amanda

    Not surprising that Alex Jones has already come out and blamed this on the “new world order”

  3. I’m sick of beauty companies telling me I need to look or feel beautiful (and buy their products) to feel good about myself. I’d like to see them make a feel-good commercial like this showing the animals slaughtered for their soap and the animals tortured to test this soap.

    1. Do you have a citation for all this? There are degrees of animal testing, and often it is required by law. If Dove/Unilever is doing something differently than other companies, I’d like to know. But if they are in line with industry norms and legalities, then it’s unfair to chastise them when we should be chastising the regulators.

      I also take issue with the “these are real women/those aren’t real women” statements. Every woman is a real woman. Both those who have conventionally attractive proportions and those who do not.

      1. Some dove and other unilever bar soaps are made using tallow (rendered animal fat). As are Proctor & Gamble and Palmolive bar soaps.

        1. Certainly. The more important question, is whether the ingredients are gotten by direct slaughter (and torture?) as Corey Lee Wrenn suggests, or if it’s more of a secondary/byproduct market. I have a hard time believing P&G or Unilever are going to shell out for a whole cow just to get some of the fat. I’ve been surprised before, but that would be a big one.

          I’d be more inclined to believe that the soap manufacturers use a byproduct that others have little/no use for, and it would be trashed if it weren’t salvaged. But, I guess that’s just my expectation based on working in the private sector where we try to salvage everything.

  4. I like the dove ads. Even though I don’t buy or have any urge to buy dove (unless its the chocolate). I think that these women are generally average healthy women. No you are not going to a overly obese woman in these commercials. Because they don’t fall into a healthy or close to healthy. I respect that.

    I like that the point of the ad is that we are our own worst critics and we need to stop being so critical. The article on the women in media is a good companion piece. The way the media reinforces that it’s important to be a look a certain way of course we are going to be hard on ourselves. Whatever you do don’t get wrinkly and old. They’ll call you tired and worn out. Anyway. At least it’s a good point. :). I think we can have a discussion on animal cruelty through an AI.

    The rape victim being harassed by her perpetrator is scary. It’s obvious harassment and if anyone thinks she should ‘get over it’ is an imbecile.

    I don’t even know why anyone gives Alex Jones the time of day.

    1. “No you are not going to a overly obese woman in these commercials. Because they don’t fall into a healthy or close to healthy.”

      This is absolutely 100% WRONG. Body size is not a determinant of health. Nor is BMI. People can be, and often are, both obese and healthy. Perpetuating the myth above is ignorant, harmful, and bigoted, and a poor excuse for fat-shaming. And it has NO place in the skeptical community.

      1. I said overly obese. The fact is you will by see a 300 lb woman in these ads. It’s not earthy. You are right you can be healthy and overweight, but we know from good SCIENCE that there is a point where health drops as your weight goes up and same when you are underweight. There is nothing unskeptical about talking about healthy weight ranges. There is nothing unscientific about looking at health and weight.

        As for fat shaming you don’t know me. I have been over 200 lbs and I have been an anorexic 112lbs. Neither of these were healthy and the fact is neither of those “me”s belong in beauty ads. I have gone through years of struggle to find a healthy and confident me. I have dealt with REAL health consequences of being overweight and lost weight because of it. I relate to these women because I have been on their shoes.

        If you are happy an comfortable and feeling healthy about your weight good for you! I am glad for you. But please don’t accuse me of being bigoted or unskeptical. I would never be disrespectful to you or call you names because we have a difference in option.

  5. The fact that Dove and Axe are divisions of the same corporation makes me very cynical about the Campaign for Real Beauty. It’s as if… they’re just trying to sell soap.

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