This year has kicked off with the likes of Gillette making an effort to drive a positive message across to their customers, while global beauty brand Avon Cosmetics took the body positivity movement 10 steps back with their anti-cellulite products.
The ad in question was seen on Avon Canada's promotional material, to which actress Jameela Jamil fast reacted to, pointing out that cellulite is "inevitable, completely normal thing."
And considering the fact that studies cite cellulite as normal for 80-90% of post-pubertal women, Avon carelessly declaring that "dimples are cute on your face (not on your thighs)", is proof of how companies play on women's insecurities in order to get them to spend money on products they don't actually need.
And yet EVERYONE has dimples on their thighs, I do, you do, and the CLOWNS at @Avon_UK certainly do. Stop shaming women about age, gravity and cellulite. They’re inevitable, completely normal things. To make us fear them and try to “fix”them, is to literally set us up for failure pic.twitter.com/78kqu3nHeE— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) January 19, 2019
Avon's Smooth Moves Naked Proof creams supposedly "reduces cellulite, firms skin and softens stretch marks so she can feel confident and powerful 24/7."
However, two medical journals (and perhaps even more) would disagree with these promises.
NCBI states that "no systematic review has been performed so far to evaluate the efficacy of the available treatment options for cellulite," while Medical News Today confirms that there is "no scientific proof that cellulite creams are effective in getting rid of cellulite or reducing its appearance".
Dr. Garry S. Brody, a professor of plastic surgery at the University of Southern California, is even quoted in the report saying "women who believe that they can eliminate cellulite through creams, or even weight loss, are likely to be disappointed".
With cosmetics and fashion brands taking a more inclusive and body positive approach to their marketing and overall merchandise offerings, it's baffling that a mega brand with as much visibility as Avon would miss the movement around them and, instead, go the opposite direction.
As Jameela further noted in her criticism of their ad, "what a gross abuse of the body positive movement".
Every body is beautiful, unless they have any “flaws” I guess. What a gross abuse of the body positive movement. I want you all to look out for this constant manipulation. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. It’s everywhere. You are constantly being manipulated to self hate. pic.twitter.com/cUnV8N3lD8— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) January 19, 2019
Avon has since apologised for "missing the mark" with their ads after other social media users also called out the body shaming message implied in the ad:
I don’t think there’s any woman out there who does not have dimples in their thighs (cellulite) and stretch marks and yet the media still forces us to see it as “ugly”, which only makes us downgrade ourselves and make the path to self-love harder and harder— lykke li (@professorlupins) January 19, 2019
I worked hard for my stretch marks, scars, dimples and cellulite!— Wildroze (@Roze_Wild) January 20, 2019
I birthed 3 children, including twins. Lived a life of curves and exercise, pasta and running, children and meetings.
I have scars to mark my full life, and a waggle or two to show my hard work.
I am beautiful!
The apology issued on Avon Insider's Twitter account takes accountability for "[messing] up on our Smooth Moves Naked Proof messaging," and that they "love their community of women."
We hear you and we apologize. We messed up on our Smooth Moves Naked Proof messaging. We want to let you know that we are working diligently to remove this messaging from our marketing materials moving forward. We're on it. We love our community of women. pic.twitter.com/lUyK3EyfAy— Avon (@AvonInsider) January 20, 2019
It would also be unfair to pin this kind of marketing only on Avon because feminine hygiene brands and hair removal products also dabble extensively on marketing that is based on misogynistic conditioning of what women's body should look and smell like.
Intimate washes are created for the purpose of "better genital hygiene" and hair removal products are sold separately for different body parts (legs, body and underarms) so that we buy more than one for fear of having too much hair in 'unnecessary places'.
We all know we don't need these products, but the packaging in all its glistening imagery and dream-selling makes us feel otherwise when it catches us off-guard in a cosmetic store isle.
And perhaps that's why stretchmarks and cellulite creams continue to be thing.
Are products like these well meaning or are they just playing on women's insecurities? Let us know what you think here.
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