Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Age and nudity (women)

Given the state of current advertising I'd expect you to assume that old age was a sin. We're openly hostile about age. And aged models are really only good for selling life insurance or anti-aging creams. And they'd never be nude. Right? Apparently not.

A banned Dove commercial says otherwise (I don't know how old this is, but it's relevant!):

Not only do they look older than between 14 and 20, but they're naked! Why? Because Dove is pro-age, of course.

Well, sort of. First, head over to Dove's products page (if you want). On the right there's a dropdown menu that says "Select a need". The third one from the bottom is...anti-aging! And any product you select (it gives you a choice of three other categories) will bring you options from a product line called pro-age.

So, it's probably just clever marketing on Dove's part. Sure, real beauty campaign and all of that. And they do admit that beauty is ageless or whatever. But when you're selling your "pro-age" product in the "anti-aging" section it's hard not to come across as...anti-age.

At best the Dove ad suggests that age is just a number. Even in this scenario their pro-age line exists because age may be a number, but the aged body is still unacceptable. And it is precisely this that allows these older women to be nude in these ads. They may be old, but they don't look it.

Alright. Nothing's changed. Crisis averted!

(related: Cloris Leachman in a PETA ad. And she's not nude!?)


Anonymous April 15, 2009 at 11:28 PM  

Even if Dove is just using this as an advertising ploy, would you consider it still positive? Or would that make it more negative still?

John April 15, 2009 at 11:38 PM  

Overall, whether it's a marketing trick or they sincerely believe it, they're still saying that the aging body is something to repel. So I guess in one sense, if it's just clever marketing, that's bad. On the other hand, even if it is it seems like they at least tried to consider that maybe telling women their bodies are ugly is a bad way sell a product.