Investigating users’ responses to Dove’s “real beauty” strategy

Feminism, freedom, and Facebook 1

Authored by: Dara Persis Murray

The Routledge Companion to Media and Gender

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  December  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415527699
eBook ISBN: 9780203066911
Adobe ISBN: 9781135076955


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This chapter considers the meanings of “real beauty” that are produced by a corporation (Dove) and negotiated by its targeted female demographic. First, I provide a feminist media studies analysis of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty (CFRB), arguing that this branding strategy communicates problematic messages of beauty and feminism to audiences. Next, I consider the ways in which CFRB utilizes social media to engage users with its “real beauty” messaging, paying attention to their interpretations of “real beauty.” Do audiences view it as a liberating beauty philosophy that resists the dominant ideology of beauty, or do they see it as an oppressive media strategy? In considering the production and consumption of “real beauty,” I address their alliance with “a postfeminist sensibility” (Gill 2007), illuminating the positioning of “real beauty” at the nexus of contemporary meanings of beauty and feminist politics.

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