Brands like Dove and Lane Bryant are recognizing the power of positive body image—check out their new confidence-building ad campaigns
Feeling beautiful in a world with supermodels and gorgeous actresses dominating every magazine cover, billboard, and TV show can be tough—really tough, some days (we're sitting here staring at April's cover model Olivia Wilde, after all). But thankfully, some companies are giving us the ammunition to fight back against negative messages—both from the world and from ourselves—with new campaigns intended to inspire all of us to feel stunning, inside and out. Granted, they're all from companies trying to sell us something. But we appreciate that they're saying it in a way that will help us feel better about ourselves rather than make us feel like we're less than perfect. (Has Body Image Become Oppressive? A Look at the Backlash Against Beauty.)
Dove: Choose Beautiful
If you were presented with two doors to walk through, one marked "beautiful" and the other marked "average", which would you choose? That's the decision Dove poses in their powerful new campaign, Choose Beautiful. And it's immediately clear that this is not as easy of a decision as you may think. The video shows women upon women waffling between doors. Ultimately (and disappointingly), most end up going through the average door. While some of the women said they just didn't want to appear conceited, most said that they really don't feel pretty. "Beautiful for me? It's too far away, out of reach," says one Japanese woman.
But, most interesting, was how this choice made them change their view of themselves. By the end of the experiment (and after some were dragged through the more positive door by their mothers and friends), most of the women say they'd walk proudly under the "beautiful" title if given the chance again. "Beautiful is a great word, so why not see what's on the other side of that?" concludes one young woman as she throws open her arms, parading through the entryway the way we think every woman should.
Lane Bryant: #ImNoAngel
Lane Bryant just released a cheeky new ad campaign that takes aim at the impossibly gorgeous Victoria's Secret Angels. The plus-size brand has women model their new lingerie line while saying "I'm no angel..." (double entendre, no doubt). After showing off their hot (and much more relatable) bodies, the models add, "I'm all kinds of sexy!" to remind us that you don't have to have a certain body type or look to be sexy. The message is a powerful one for a generation that grew up envying the VS Angels for more than just their wings. And there's nothing more powerful than seeing a woman who actually looks like you touting confidence and sexiness. (Real Women Discuss: Why Heavy Women Are Invisible.)
Curvy Kate: Star in a Bra
Women's breasts come in all shapes and sizes—but you'd never know it based on the limited offerings in most stores. It's not just a problem of exclusion: Ill-fitting underwear condemns large-chested ladies to years of tugging, digging, and spillage. (Find The Best Bra for Your Breast Type.) But Curvy Kate, a lingerie brand designed specifically for women who are a D-cup or larger, decided to fight this battle on two fronts: By designing affordable, high quality bras in larger sizes and by sending out a call for real women to post pics of themselves modeling their lingerie as part of their annual Star in a Bra campaign.
The snaps were then posted online where people could vote for their favorites. Curvy Kate named Sophia Adams the 2015 "Star in a Bra," but they also created a powerful ad with 10 of the fan favorites. The art direction came directly from Victoria's Secret's fall "Perfect Body" ad campaign, creating a strong visual message by having real women pose in the same way as the models. Not only is it healthy for us to see real women modeling, but they even have wisdom to share: Adams, the contest winner, shows off her 32JJs and adds, "I used to have so many body hang ups, hated my size, and wanted to change myself. But as I get older I'm realizing it's all about self love and treating your body like the temple it is!"
In the end, all three campaigns aren't about outer beauty (although there's plenty of that too), but are instead about how to feel gorgeous in a world that constantly wants to tell us we're not. But our bodies are temples and sometimes we just need to be reminded of how amazing each of us truly is, no matter what we see in the mirror.