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Hi Polly, I surfed over from Canadian Cynic.

I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the Dove advertising campaign. I note that they have changed the site since I first heard about it; originally, there were a handful of models parading around in their underwear, each with a Playboy Playmate-style "profile". I guess if you're going to concentrate on women's physical appearance one way or another, though, you're going to do it that way -- after all, pornography has been refining the display of women's physical attributes for a while now. They've gotten pretty good at it.

As for your comments about an Axe-style campaign for women -- don't you know that women aren't supposed to know about, much less enjoy, sex? Geez, next thing you'll want is to get a career (do any of those Dove women have careers? not to our knowledge!) and an education.

How unsavoury. I'm sure Unilever's marketing division executives would be rather displeased with those views.

You're missing an important level of indirection. Marketing to women revolve around women's *perception* of men's desire and women's desirability. If you compare male- and female-targeted advertising, the images of women in male-targeted media are much heavier, rounder and healthier.

Advertising frequently exploits our insecurities. I can't even speculate why, but women suffer from body dimorphism issues more than men do. Maybe advertising actively creates the same conditions it exploits, but I think there is some secret still hidden in why anorexia in women is so much more common than anorexia and "bigarexia" in men.

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