'Real Beauty' Is Nice, but Real Beauty Is Unfair

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Virginia Postrel, writing in The Atlantic, takes on the subject of real beauty and Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign. That link is time-constricted and may only work for Atlantic subscribers, but Postrel also writes about the subject on her blog.

Here's a bit of it:

I'm sure the article will enrage many readers, since lots of people seem to believe that recognizing the excellence of others requires denigrating oneself. But it shouldn't be any more offensive to say some people are more beautiful than others than to say that some people are taller, or smarter, or more agile than others. The genetic lottery isn't fair, and the truly beautiful are genetic freaks. Nor do I see how pretending that everyone is beautiful or, worse, that beauty is the same as personality or character or goodness makes for more happiness. You certainly won't fool teenagers with the former lie--they take their cues from each other, not Oprah--while the latter one is likely to backfire, giving undue moral weight to physical appearance: "If you really had a nice personality, people would think you're beautiful. If they don't think you're beautiful, there must be something wrong with the inner you."

She also points out that support from Oprah (Miss Black Tennessee 1971), may be partly due to the fact that Dove sponsors her show.

And that's before she got a load of the granny campaign.
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