After the lambasting that the Dove Real Beauty Sketch commercial has been taking in the online world, I was starting to feel rather foolish for having liked it as much as I did. Maybe I'm just not a deep thinker. Maybe I just have more shallow expectations when it comes to commercials. But after having a debate on FB about some of the points in this specific criticism, I have this to say...
I get you... Dove ad.
And I feel your pain.
I too have tried to post what I hoped were inspirational things with a nice message on this here blog only to be told that I'm making someone feel inadequate.
Pictures of cakes and cupcakes I have decorated were seen as attempts to make the mom with Little Debbie and Sara Lee in her pantry feel like a domestic failure. Posts about a reorganization of my laundry room/spice cabinet/linen closet/bookshelves were seen as ways to humiliate the woman with laundry piled on her bed and books stacked on the floor.
I have been told that my blog (and others like it) is a source for negative comparison, inspiration for inadequacy, a place to go when someone "wanted to feel like a terrible mother" and very specifically, "the nail in the coffin" that ended one women's online perusing.
So, I guess that's why I feel sympathetic to the Dove ad and kind of annoyed that people are trying to see the negative in it no matter what. Do I think Dove is trying to sell something here... sure. That's their job. They haven't been too cagey or clever about hiding that fact. Do I think they are trying to subtly manipulate people into swallowing already stereotyped standards of beauty? Nope. Do I think it's filled with theological and philosophical implications? Heavens no. It's just a commercial.
It is edited, obviously. We don't get a chance to hear what specific questions the artist asked of the subjects. We don't get to see all 10 hours (or however long) of filming. Is this editing evidence of a kind of manipulation? If you consider anything that is edited in any way a form of manipulation then I guess this commercial could be considered manipulative. But then so would every book, every news article, every cropped photo, every song ever recorded, oh yeah... and every blog post.
Rather than pulling the post below and feeling silly about ever having posted it like I want to do right now, I'm going to swallow my pride and just say this... think of it what you will. I think it's an interesting commercial with a nice message. Women tend to be their own worst critics whether that has to do with beauty, intellect, crafting skills or domestic ability. What you see as your biggest flaws, most people probably wouldn't even notice at all.
That is all. :)
I love the commercial and I love your blog. Cupcakes and babies....all of it. I do think you blog real things, not just the perfect. People that really know you, know what is in your heart.ReplyDelete
I'm not going to give the negative any credit, either for Dove or you.
When I watched the commercial I felt inspiration, truth and a whole heart. When I read your blog I find inspiration, truth and the pouring out of a whole person. We are all children of God. Unique, beautiful and truly one of a kind. No comparisons ~ just a community. Together we work! Keep being YOU!ReplyDelete
Please do not allow other people's insecurities effect how you blog. I may never do all the cool crafty things and baking things that you do, but I love seeing what you do for love of your family. Regarding the Dove ad, I appreciated what you said about having our sons watch it. I very much agree! Please keep blogging. I find it inspiring and reassuring to see someone devote oneself to her family.ReplyDelete
I attribute my lack of blogging lately to the very critiques I received from some dear friends. Some of the comments seemed silly but, when they began saying that my blog, and others like it, didn't seem real to the average mother or made them feel bad. Well, that hit a nerve.ReplyDelete
I personally don't get it. If bloggers had written a book on homeschooling, cooking ideas, party ideas, or crafting would the same words be accepted then? Why, if we claim to be sisters in Christ; to be that light of Jesus, to share our lives with one another through this outlet... why is it seen (whether I show you the piles of laundry or share the disagreements between my husband and I) that we are fake or showing off?
Feelings get hurt and intentions behind each post bet misinterpreted.
I have been inspired by your blog, to bring more of the liturgy into our domestic church. Years ago, when I first had this desire to build my children faith with cookies and crafts; it led me to your blog (and a few others). It was a blessing, as I'm sure it has been for many.
So keep on bloggin' :-)
So - are they asking for some insecure blog posts? How does that help? I heard Dr. Ray Guarendi say that the common wisdom at one time was that it is good to vent through something like a journal, otherwise the suppression can lead to neurosis. However they found that journal venting just leads to - surprise - more venting, not resolution. It seems it would make sense that negative blogging would set a trend for more negative blogging (especially if it increased blog traffic - kind of like the fascination of "looking over the city walls at the dead bodies").ReplyDelete
I read blogs to get ideas. I don't like hearing about women's angst - that's what their husbands and confessors and (live) best friends are for. If women don't like comparisons why do they punish themselves with Pinterest? I have a subscription to "This Old House" magazine. I could get depressed with each issue that my home will never look like any of the pictured ones for lack of time, money and skills. But I don't; I get ideas that can be adapted to my situation, I learn new DIY skills. If it produced envy, I'd drop it. And it wouldn't be the TOH editor's fault, it would be mine.
Katherine that's interesting about the journaling because that has not been my experience at all. I was never a journal person until last year when my mother died unexpectedly. A friend (and counselor) recommenced I start journaling and it has been hugely helpful to me. Not just in dealing with my grief but with everything. If I "vent" on paper I find it much easier to put things in perspective and realize what issues DO need addressing and what is just my mood swings or pettiness. Maybe it's different because I try to make what I write a prayer addressed to God but it surely has been helpful. As an aside I read that when you start journaling some people lose weight and I did --20 lb. without even trying! Apparently I was using food to deal with some things. :)Delete
I also loved it. You can never reach everyone, even Jesus had this problem.ReplyDelete
I didn't realize it was being hit so hard in a negative way...I guess that goes along with how much I liked it, got out of it, respected it, and gave it my nod of approval. I read the few comments above mine and couldn't agree more! Keep on blogging!ReplyDelete
I agree with you, Charlotte. I saw that ad and looked at the positive message it was trying to offer. I'm a "glass full" kind of girl so I appreciate the intentions Dove had behind their message - reminding young women that we are more beautiful than we think.ReplyDelete
To add onto your other suggestion, however, that bloggers aren't showing "real life" well, we all want to put our best foot forward and broadcast the things we do well. I enjoy reading your blog because you inspire me. Jessica's blog inspires me. I can see how some women might look at it and feel discouraged, but that problem lies with their own insecurities. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your activities, your recipes, your creativity, your life with us! You are a gifted woman, wife, friend, and mother!
DUDE!!! I love love love that you wrote this. The ad was fine. It was great even. And people that need to invent problems with innocent lovely things, need to stop. I use all the dove ads in our young girl's ministry and I do it because they are awesome.ReplyDelete
Haha I love that the comment above opens with DUDE! I say that all the time. I'm really tired of women complaining that other blogs make them feel inadequate. Really really tired. I stand in awe of your birthday parties but I don't harbor negative feelings about it! Last year I miscarried and had to stop visiting blogs of women due around the same time - but that was not because of them, it was because of my own grief. Can we not, even in the Catholic mom community, take responsibility for our own feelings? You keep going, you encourage us.ReplyDelete
I think sometimes the "inadequate" feelings are just plain old jealousy or envy. In the modern world the seven deadly sins have been largely forgotten, and even among Catholics, we tend to concentrate more upon the "below the belt" sins than ones like greed or envy. If a man sees an attractive woman and lustful thoughts begin, it's his sin, not the woman's. If a blog reader becomes resentful of the blogger's creativity, in whose heart does that originate? My family is competitive and there is some pretty heavy sibling rivalry, so it's taken me many years to really learn to rejoice at other's talents and gifts full-heartedly without envy (at least more than I used to).Delete
I refuse to allow the fear that someone else may feel insecure after reading my posts dictate what I write. I think this is a case of people forgetting that we all are One Body, we just have different gifts. Of course we don't all excel at the same things! Isn't that what makes life so beautiful?ReplyDelete
All that to say, carry on, sweet Charlotte. You are a constant source of inspiration to me. :)
I am the least crafty woman in the world, but I love visiting your blog, if only to think, "Ooooh, that's so pretty! Wow, she's good." :o) Do those women who accuse you of making them feel bad stay away from museums and concerts and refuse to visit family and friends who have beautifully decorated homes and/or gardens? That would just be sad, to be so insecure you couldn't enjoy anything of goodness or beauty unless you had created it yourself.ReplyDelete
So, I say thank you for being so generous! For sharing pictures of your beautiful children, your beautiful home, your beautifully decorated cakes and parties, and for those *awesome* saints coloring pages -- thank you!!! :o)
I remember hearing someone say (gosh I wish I could remember who it was!) that true humility is being just as happy that someone else created something beautiful or did something great as you would be if you had accomplished it yourself. I really think that a way beauty honors God is that we can look at Charlotte's cakes and say, "How lovely!" To instead look at pretty cakes and say,"I'm terrible because I don't create beautiful cakes" (and I don't!) is self-absorbed naval gazing.Delete
All that to agree with Wendy and say THANK YOU! The beauty you show on your blog elevates our minds toward Higher things!
No, I liked what you said about the Dove ad - especially the part about having our sons watch the video. It's fine for people to dislike it for the reasons they do but there's no shame in appreciating it.ReplyDelete
Also, there are blogs I cannot read because they make me feel like Roseanne Barr. It's taken me a few years to figure that out and to realize that what those women are documenting is good and wonderful and if I can't take it as such it only reflects on me. So I don't read the blog until I'm at a place in my life where I can, with appreciation, charity, and gratitude - for the blogger and me!
What is it like to feel like Roseanne Barr?? I avoid blogs that are soupy or personally introspective. It's a woman's prerogative to be sentimental every once in a while, but I find it kind of embarrassing and annoying when it becomes the theme or raison d'etre of a blog. Maybe, it's my Asian blood showing.Delete
I think that the ad is great and your blog is great both for the same reason - because beauty should be something that inspires us! When I read your blog or blogs like it, I feel so encouraged that beauty in my home and family is possible! Don't stop trying to spread that beauty!!!ReplyDelete
It's easier said than done, but I think we need to quit comparing ourselves to others in all aspects of our lives. Rather than feeling depressed because someone else has a beautifully organized kitchen that they blog about (and we live in an outdated one), we should rejoice for that person and perhaps try to pick up a few hints and tips for our situation. Of course, this is so easy to say, and so hard to do. It is one of the sins of pride that we all struggle against. Maybe that's the heart of it -- we just need to realize that we are too prideful?ReplyDelete
You're a great blogger .. my girls visit your site just because they want to check out what's going on in "Cupcake's family". I've loved the ideas for your birthday parties -- they inspire me even if I don't get around to doing anything remotely similar for my own kids' birthdays. Maybe if you posted your dirty laundry or dirty dishes or a burned souffle or something "real" on the "Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real" posts -- maybe those folks who feel negative might accept that you're legit. ;)ReplyDelete
I know what you mean. I liked the Dove ad and shared it to Facebook and felt that same bemusement when everyone started attacking it. Yeah, kind of like they were saying I was a dupe to have liked it.ReplyDelete
I do see both sides. I don't think most people who were critiquing it were critiquing those who liked it so much as saying, hey, you know, I didn't like it and here's why. I think much of the critique is also good, a good conversation to have. It's just that often the people making it jumped over the good things the ad does to the things they wish it had done.
Then again I'm the kind of person who became an English major. I like dissecting pieces of art to see how they tick. So I've (somewhat) learned to separate my enjoyment of a thing from the analysis of it.
As for blogging, well I think whoever said those things to you should be slapped. It's true, sometimes there are blogs out there that I can't read. They make me question myself and my approach to mothering or to writing. So I don't read them. But I'd never tell the author that. There are a few blogs whose authors I consider friends, but I still can't read them except occasionally without falling into negative patterns of thinking. But I know it's them not me.
I think one of the hazards of the blogging world is that it's all so personal. We are taking a risk, sharing our lives, it's intimate. And when someone doesn't like what you've shared, it can feel like such a slap in the face.
But you know, I've been on rather the other side of it. There are some bloggers who say mothers should never complain, never air their dirty laundry, not talk about the negative things. And when they say that I feel attacked. Because some of the blogging I'm most proud of, that I've got the most positive responses to, well, it's rough and raw and negative emotions hanging out all over the place. I do complain. I use my blog to vent and to work through tough times. I don't pull any punches. I invite people to walk with me even when I'm not sure there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It's how I work through things. And thank God for the community that joins me in those times.
I think there's a place for all of it. There is a place for the blogger who always puts her best foot forward and focusing on the beautiful things and never post pictures of the mess. For the blogger who knows that she has to avoid negativity because writing about those things isn't healthy or good for her. And there is a place for the blogger who shares her trials and tribulations with the world and writes about the ugly, who posts pictures of dirty laundry and projects that fail. The blogging world is big enough for all of us.
And I think more people need to take Thumper's advice: if you can't say something nice to a blogger.... don't say anything at all.
Oops. Of course the last sentence of the fourth paragraph should read: "but I know it's me not them."ReplyDelete
And you shouldn't feel like a dupe for liking the positive message of that ad. I love that you look at the positive and see the good things. That's what makes you such a lovely blogger and a good friend.ReplyDelete
I'm behind and don't have time to read all the great discussion, but I really liked that commercial. It made you think and it was positive. What's wrong with that? I'm not about to go buy Dove because of it, because I actually dislike their products, but it was a good point. Why is there such a negative backlash? If they didn't put their ad at the end would people still like it?ReplyDelete
I can't believe someone would write that about your blog. When people attack that way, it's to make them feel better in their insecurities or weaknesses. I always think you are realistic, not presenting a perfectly polished figure without the mess in the background or the mistakes showing.
And furthermore, each person has their own strengths. You have many creative artistic talents, and revealing your use of those gifts will more visual.
For those that view the blogs and FB and other internet visuals as the full view, they are truly mistaken. We are multi-dimensional, and the internet reveals a small one dimension peek at us. Maybe 1/4 of a dimension.
I met my husband through a matchmaking website. We very quickly brought it down to real face-to-face dating, but he observed that he had different types of "Jennifer" -- the written word Jennifer and the phone Jennifer and photographs Jennifer. It wasn't until we met that all this fit together into one package and created a whole, so he began knew the real me. And I always remember that assessment and quite agree. We are getting a glimpse, and not matter how hard we try to be realistic, the internet reveal a complete person or a family.
Not well-written, but perhaps you can get my gist. And I keep a blog for my enjoyment. It's nice that people enjoy some things, but I'm not out to people please. That person can go somewhere else!
I liked the ad.:) Did you see the men's version (a parody)? Hilarious! You can find the link for that at Deirdra's last Bits and Pieces post over LMLD. Hey, at least people comment on your blog and tell you that you're offending them. No one comments on mine....they just tell me to my face. Seriously, I've had moms come up to me at coop gatherings or play dates that they can't read my blog because it makes them feel inadequate. I guess I should be happy they didn't publish that thought on line in my com box!;) Oh, well. Carry on. You're doing a great job. Besides, you'll always rub someone the wrong way. That's just how life is, unfortunately. This reminds me I should post my "Hurt Feelings" form on my blog. I think I'll do that now!;)ReplyDelete
Sheesh! How many grammatical errors can one person have in a blog comment? I hope you were able to make sense out of that.:( Next time I'll proofread before submitting.:)Delete
I can't say anything more than the eloquent replies you got above other than the fact that I love your blog and I enjoyed the commercial as well. We need to take responsibility for our own sins and emotions. If we're jealous, that's not someone else's fault. Nobody "makes" us nurse those feelings.ReplyDelete
Way behind but I liked that Dove ad and really don't understand the criticism. Does selling a product means their motives are always suspect?ReplyDelete
I like your blog Charlotte and I know how it is to be accused of making others feel inadequate but seriously unless your aim is to actually do that (and who does that?!) the issue is with the reader. I honestly don't understand why someone would continue to read something that makes them feel bad. Some people always seem to want to ascribe bad motives to others. Well, I've done it too and I am regretful of it. I try very hard to not think that way but rather assume the best of people --especially people I don't even really know! I liked Jenn Miller's comments about the different types of "Jennifer". SO true Jenn! Keep inspiring and sharing the beautiful things you do Charlotte and don't listen to the meanies, they don't really know you. OK I don't really know you either but hopefully we'll get to meet someday! :)