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The Madness of MokcikNab
Motives, movements and melodrama in the life of a thirty something mum.

Friday, September 09, 2005
Love the One You're With

Yesterday, Kamarul, Ian and I were at a crowded cafe in KLCC. I bumped into my father's old friend; her daughter was a former colleague : ultra skinny, uber glam. (Don't think me bitchy : I like her very much, and in fact I admire her a lot for her new-found entreprenuerial spirit)

After enquiring after her (she's in London on a business trip), the benign father fixed me with a concerned look.

"You've put on a lot of weight", he said, frowning. "Cannot lah like this. Must take care of yourself".

Hur hur hur. I remind myself never again to be seen in public with rail-thin Kam unless he's wearing horizontal stripes.

"Alah, why you worry what people think?", scolded the ever-comforting Kam, who then proceeded not to eat anything, while I stuffed my face with a foccacia sandwich.

Later in the loo, I got more than just relief : there, on the back of the cubicle door, was a small poster of a voluptuous woman with the words : extra large, extra sexy. Hurray for Unilever. My extra large body shan't touch anything else but Dove.


I really like Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty, which seems to be their worldwide crusade. Oh I know, it could very well be a clever ploy to just make me buy their products (which I would buy regardless, because they smell so good) but I totally support what they're doing. It's about time a big ass FMCG company challenge the stereotypes of beauty. Never mind the raison d'etre : as far as I'm concerned, this branding exercise scored a complete buy-in from me.

I like that they agree that it's the beauty companies that are making us all so screwy. Particularly insiduous are those TV commercials which depict women pitting against each other (the "teknik rebonding" ad, for one), pounding you with the message that if you use our product, you'll get a leg-up on the competition. Why should we think of other women as the enemy? Even if it is a race, why make a yardstick out of a quality that is largely borne out of a stroke of luck and the right gene-pool? If I can stop judging myself and others based on looks, then I'm not going to worry about prettier, younger girls. (If you're my husband and you're reading this, two words : Shut Up)

But listen, we're made to feel insecure. They want us to feel bad about our hair, our skin, our hips, our boobs, our teeth, so that we'd be desperate enough to shell out 300 bucks for a jar of moisturizer that looks like goat semen. (Not that I know what that looks like) A billion dollar world-wide industry is hinged upon the fact that women would never be happy with themselves.

This is why I'm so glad for the Dove campaign. It's honest. It doesn't say, look, you, too can have Sammi Cheng's flawless skin if you use this stuff they make sake with. Please lah. Sammi Cheng was born with that skin. I can ply my face with the best goat semen, and I'd still look like me. Now, Dove says that it's ok to look like me, but maybe just better. Have you seen their print ads in American magazines? One of my favourites features Marge Simpson, before and after Dove Conditioner. How cool is that? Another has a matrix of women, young and old, fat and thin, dark and light, and it says : "None of these women are hair models. After all, neither are you." Sweet! I wish the campaign has more prominence here in Malaysia becaue I think there is so much we can do.(I'm talking to you, you bright women at Unilever Branding, you know who you are)

For example, I especially like the idea of the Dove Self Esteem Fund, which aims to help young girls come to terms with , and love their own bodies. I feel sorry for the girls of today : they're constantly bombarded with impossible standards of beauty. Impossible because the hot, sexy images we see are usually not for real : it's a clever combination of make-up and lighting and touch-up technology. Remember what Cindy Crawford said about herself? "In real life, even I don't look like Cindy Crawford".

Go visit the Dove site -- it's not really meant to make you change your brand of shampoo or facewash, it means to change how you see yourself. It'll make you go : Yeah, damn right! I am beautiful, right here, right now, and there's nothing you can do to change it.

By the way, people at Unilever, my blog is available for advertising. Hee.


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