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Last night, @Dove tweeted to me, a few other bloggers and later, Time Magazine that we ought to read their latest note on Facebook:

Dove is committed to representing beauty of all ages, ethnicities, shapes and sizes, and actively works toward raising self-esteem in women and young girls globally. We have used a wide variety of women in our images. We have shown women as young as 20 and as old as 95, women with blond hair, red hair, short hair, long hair and no hair; with freckles, without freckles; with wrinkles, with tattoos and real curves.

Unfortunately, this casting notice was not approved by the brand or agency team and did not reflect the spirit of the brand team’s vision. We appreciate that this has been brought to our attention and we are taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future. We believe our images demonstrate that real beauty comes in many shapes, sizes, colors and ages and we remain committed to featuring realistic and attainable images of beauty in all our advertising.

While I appreciate that Dove seems to be vowing that they do as they say and say as they do… something about this still seems fishy. If not affiliated with the agency team, then who? A lone wolf photographer who was randomly hired somehow with absolutely no idea re: the values of the Real Beauty campaign? Someone–if only one who is partially affiliated with the company—seemed to get the wrong idea somehow, and I’d like to know why. But, I’m also a snoopy, feminist journalist who can’t stop asking questions. Maybe I ought to be content with this semi-explanation.

What do you think?

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I’m not a Gleek. I watched the first few episodes of the season and was kinda turned off by the in-your-face cheese factor. Yeah, I also got distracted by the CW’s 90210 and Melrose Place. (What can I say, I’ve been a Darren Star-created programming fiend since the hottest couple at West Bev was Brenda and Dylan.) Anyway, I had dismissed the “high school musical” show until I heard they were gonna do a Gaga ep, but not before a Madonna tribute. I still know the choreography to my “Material Girl” dance recital and The Immaculate Collection was the first CD I ever bought, so clearly, I am not a girl who can resist a high-profile tribute to Her Madgjesty. And, I adored it, I sang along, I felt like dancing, and I wished several times that I was watching it on the big screen TV (that Dan was using at the time to watch the NJ Devils lose to the Philly Flyers)… I was also pleased that the theme was female empowerment. Cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester forces the principal to play the new Madonna’s greatest hits CD (shameless plug) over the PA at top volume to help empower her Cheerios with the Madge edge. At one point, Sue credits the Material Girl with having “self-confidence…power over her body…and sexual magnetism.” These are the reasons I used to defend Madonna when my mom would shriek that she was all ambition, no talent, just good at tapping into a zeitgeist, typical egomanical Leo. I’d say, “No! She’s a feminist heroine!” And that was pretty much the theme of the night—honoring Madge as a heroine and trying to instill in the younger generation of chicas that they can and should express themselves, own their sexuality and feel empowered all at once. Bravo to that!!

But, sigh… As Feministing points out in this brilliant story and this also spot-on post, there are some splotches on the Glee-ful female empowerment flag. Like the “Pretty ugly” post points out, songbird Rachel Berry is supposedly fug? OK, I’m not saying that it doesn’t seem like it couldn’t happen in real life. When I was in high school, 96% of the guys wouldn’t look twice at me, a 4’11”, pear-shaped, somewhat-chubby (but attractive!) Jewish girl. Most seemed to idolize the tall, blonde, blue-eyed, athletic type. So, I’m actually not questioning that a petite, musical theater-loving brunette could be considered fug in HS. But, I still think it’s ridiculous that gorgeous and might I say “Borderline” too thin Lea Michele is supposedly the ugly girl. Actually, she may just be considered the ugly girl by other girls. At least in this episode. As the “Senior Prank” story notes, in the opening scene of the episode, Rachel’s female peers are ripping her for being fug, in a clearly disconcerting way complete with anti-Semitic cartoon notebook doodle. This is not OK. These little brats need to face some comeuppance for their girl-on-girl crime. Yet, there’s no Ms. Norbury-style lecture here.

"It's not a self-esteem problem. I think they're all pretty pleased with themselves..." (Photo via Flavorwire.com)

 

Just Mr. Schue asking to interrupt the girls’ “little sorority meeting.” Eye roll. Well, maybe we can look forward to some Mean Girls lessons learned in future episodes…

These annoyances aside, overall, “The Power of Madonna” episode was pure pop pleasure. And hey, hopefully, it’ll actually get tween and teen ladies (and hey, guys, too) really talking about “What It Feels Like For a Girl.” If you missed it on Tuesday, and you’d like to catch it on the big screen TV, you’re in luck. There’s an encore tonight, 9/8 central on FOX.

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