So I go look at the women in the actual campaign, and I think they're all beautiful. Go figure.
Anyway, I note a few quotes from the second article at the third link (scroll down), if for no other reason than that I'd like to slap the writer:
Really, the only time I want to see a thigh that big is in a bucket with bread crumbs on it (rim shot here). (Note to writer: rimshots generally accompany jokes that aren't funny.)
...I get that it's all relative, but that's all the more reason why they shouldn't be on a billboard. See, ads should be about the beautiful people. They should include the unrealistic, the ideal or the unattainable look for which so many people strive.
Sorry, but no. Advertising isn't about the beautiful people, or using beauty to give us something to strive to attain. Advertising is about selling a concept of beauty in the first place. The ads aren't telling us what we can do to be beautiful; they're about explicitly telling us that we're not beautiful in the first place. By granting that premise to the advertisers, we're granting the ads their power in the first place. What this writer has just done is opined that there is no true beauty in the world around him (or her).
And then the writer keeps digging:
Hopefully, Dove will come back to its senses and make my morning commute -- and Phil's and Kevin's and that of countless other men -- a little more pleasing to the eyes.
This might be the stupidest comment in the whole article, and that's saying something. The ads aren't supposed to be appealing to men in the first place: they're selling a product to women, who, judging by the quotes at the bottom of the page, love the ads. This is like saying that the decor in Borders isn't appealing to non-readers.
But back to this reporter's world o'ugliness: screw that. I have long maintained, and will continue to do so, that there are women working at The Store who captivate me more than any of the supermodels this person so admires. But that's not even my real complaint. It's not that this person thinks that beauty is some unattainable goal; it's the tacit belief that beauty is something strange, something foreign from everyday experience. I hate that worldview, and I'd like to drag that worldview out into the woods and stomp it to death with my hiking boots.
I hate when people treat beauty like it is the exception rather than the rule. I hate when people blithely assume that the familiar cannot be beautiful. And I hate it when that which we would decry as ugliness were it in our real lives on a daily basis as beautiful because it is not.
This writer's world is a world where beauty is something "freakish" and "unattainable". My world is a world where I can find the beautiful at the same place where I buy my milk and eggs. Well, I know which world I'm staying in.