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Dove Real Beauty

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Beauty. Is it real, or is it the work of the advertising department?

We have all been programmed into believing that beauty is what we are told it is. Whether that comes from the latest edition of your fashion magazine or the cosmetics counter in your local department store. The trouble with that is we have all become so immune to the fact that for the most part, it is an illusion, a largely unattainable illusion full of wants and desire.

There is not a magazine ad or pictorial out there that does not scream to us that their product will enhance your beauty, whether that be stated or just implied. The point I am trying to make is that we should take a step back and look at what those products or images really do for the everyday person in all of us. I would imagine that with the right amount of Hollywood magic and our own personal trainer and makeup artist on staff, we too could, "look like a million bucks."

For the most part, the pressure that we feel to look "beautiful," is put on us, by ourselves. Logically, that just does not make sense. I, for one, came to that realization a long time ago and have been very happy with myself ever since.

As most of you are aware, I embarked on a personal mission some 8 months ago to lose, "the baby weight." It has been an eye opener right from the start, full of its own ups and downs. From the pains of working out at the gym, to the joys of shopping for new clothes, 5 sizes smaller I might add. Hard work and determination has become my friend, and has allowed me to shed some 30 pounds, for me and no one else. The beneficiaries, other than myself is my husband and family. I am happier, more energized and full of, "what are we doing next."

The lifestyle changes that I made were for me, and not because someone told me I would be more beautiful. It was not because of some magazine article or advertorial that I made the trek everyday to the gym and worked my butt off.

I had the opportunity this week to attend an event in Toronto hosted by our friends at Dove Canada.

Dove has for many years been very vocal and upfront about what people think about beauty, be it perceived or otherwise. For a number of years they have promoted campaigns about being yourself and harnessing the "beauty" that you already possess. Their message has always been about promoting self- esteem and looking to our inner self to release that positive energy from within.

As a mother of 4 daughters, I am fully aware that as they grow up there will be pressures put upon them to have the best clothes, the best shoes, the nicest purse, the coolest watch...The point is, those are materialistic things that should not be confused with beauty or self image and who we are as individuals.

How many magazine articles or photos have we seen recently of the Hollywood "it girl" being shown without makeup or their hair done. When you see them for who they really are, that is, just normal people like you and me; they just have the good fortune of having full time stylists and image consultants at their disposal. Some of the photos that we are seeing pop up on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are the "real" them, not the touched up ones that the magazine companies and advertisers want us to see. Who would buy their beauty creams and perfumes if in the end we just ended up looking like we already do?

Advertisers and media have been under increasing pressure and criticism form publishing photos that reflect extreme examples of digital photo retouching. Their widespread use of unrealistic images has been known to negatively impact a woman's self-esteem and can be especially damaging to the younger generation of girls. I do not want that for my girls and struggle daily to get the point across that they can just me themselves and feel good about it.

Now Dove, which has always pursued an ongoing mission to get us talking openly about beauty and self-esteem is launching a creative campaign to spark a conversation around how extreme re-touching of images can go unnoticed and can distort and alter our perception of what we think is beautiful. Dove makes us question the images we see everyday.

Despite increased attention being paid to the use of these retouched photos, the effects are still being felt within the public at large. The Real Truth About Beauty Research conducted by Dove found that only 9% of Canadian girls (aged 10-17) and 3% of women are comfortable calling themselves beautiful.

"Dove believes that we all should have a positive relationship with beauty." That is why they will make a commitment not to distort any of the images used to create an unrealistic or unattainable view of beauty. Dove will cast only real women in its advertising campaigns. They believe the images used will demonstrate to all of us that real beauty comes in many different shapes, sizes, colours and ages.

I must commend Dove on their lofty endeavour. It may in the beginning cost them some sales of their product but will undoubtedly help them to develop a clientele and following that I believe will become almost cult like in its loyalty. They continue to make us think about ourselves as beautiful. And I for one am all for it. Who knew, truth in advertising could be such fun? Kudos to Dove for getting it right!!

Dove, from the bottom of my heart, "I thank you" and in years to come my 4 beautiful daughters will thank you too for making it easier on them. They will know that how they feel about themselves as women is all that really matters.

Dove would love all Canadians, both young and old alike to follow their progress on Facebook and leave comments to further assist them in developing a more positive youth.

If this blog has a positive affect on just one young girl, then it has succeeded in its mission. WonderMoms is proud to have been invited to such an event and will no doubt be using its message in discussions with her very own, "beautiful family."