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Belgian Ad For a Natural Cosmetics Company

If Only This Ad Were on the Endangered List...

I firmly believe the beauty industry can help women feel confident and look their best. But when it comes to nonsense like this Belgian ad for a natural cosmetics company, I want to go concealer-free out of righteous rage. The ol' before-and-after shot transforms a scruffy woman into the typical "hot" vixen. The tagline: "No need to be ugly to save the planet." Nice, huh?

Look, I know it's a joke, but am I the only one who's tired, really tired, of this sort of thing? I know it sounds funny coming from a beauty-lovin' lady, but this ad exemplifies the worst of beauty marketing. I mean, it's not a sin to have acne or messy hair, so why shame women who don't fit that overly Photoshopped ideal? And if you are out saving whales, isn't that accomplishment more meaningful than having perfectly arched brows? (By the way, I know tons of beautiful environmentalists, some of whom love bright red lipstick and others who wouldn't wear makeup even if a spotted owl begged them to.)

Plenty of beauty companies promote their products through positive messages. So why, in 2009, are some ad agencies still taking a fearful, sexist route?


Join The Conversation
wanderlusting wanderlusting 8 years
I'm very un-PC, so I did think this was funny. But what bothers me is HOW ugly they made that chick look. I mean, I know some tree-hugging hippies (I'm from Vancouver BC so I know) and none of them look like this wreck. I guess they had to really exagerate to make a point.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
this ad is over the top and distastefuls...i gives a bad name to people who "save the whales" and shows a completely unrealistic ideal of beauty in the after photo...i feel your pain bella, but, on the other hand, i don't get why some people have to be grungy not wearing makeup if you have perfect skin is fine by me...all the power to girls who don't feel the need to have mascara on at all times (i could never do it) but unclean clothing and unbrushed hair is gross....if you have bags under your eyes, use concealer, if you have oily skin, blot, and if you have acne, take something for it...there's no room in this world for unkempt people, it's just not professional
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
there's a little bit of truth in every joke, thats what makes it funny.
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
Er, :shrug:
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
I think it's funny. :shrugs:
Shannolyn Shannolyn 8 years
I agree it's an insensitive ad, in rather poor taste and insulting to women, that much is obvious. However, I also feel I'd be a major, first class hypocrite if I were to become too outraged/indignant--when I've obviously come to the BellaSugar website for the express purpose of checking out all the latest make-up, skin care and beauty treatments. I wax, workout/diet, straighten *and* highlight my hair, and unless I'm going to the gym I will put on at least a touch of makeup before leaving the house. This ad is exaggerated in a way I imagine was meant to be comical, like a caricature of the real thing. But if I'm being 100% honest, considering the beauty/health regimen I adhere to, then I'm really not in the place to act like it's some huge injustice or crime. Mea culpa!
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
belladande belladande 8 years
The minute makeup is used to make me feel confident that's when I know I've lost. Thinking like that just opens the door to bs like this. Makeup is fun being pretty is fun, but it doesn't change how I feel about myself or anyone else. The fact that enviromentalists are categorized as beautiful or not is shameful. Who cares as long as they get the job done? This ad is garbage, but it's not too far off the messages being sent by major cosmetics companies.
bella85 bella85 8 years
Thank you Bella, you're great! I agree!
Advah Advah 8 years
Margokhal, the tagline says what Bella translated "no need to be ugly anymore to save the planet". Appalling.
Bearsy123 Bearsy123 8 years
Well I just took it lightheartedly. Actually thought it a little funny. Some people read too much into things and exaggerate their point. I'm not a raging feminist who'll just nitpick at anything. Maybe they could have just changed the word "ugly", it can be taken as a strong, harsh word to some. That being said, I also think political correctness and the fear to not offend has gone waaaay overboard. Toughen up people. If you get upset and want to cry over an ad then whoah, you're gonna crumble when a real issue comes your way. My anger gets triggered when it turns to outright porn which is so rampant these days. Not the case here.
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
I could see making the argument that you don't have to be "ungroomed" to save the planet, but to come out and call her ugly because she didn't do all these beauty treatments? That's just not right.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 8 years
Thing is, this woman would be beautiful with a brow wax and some shampoo. She wouldn't be a runway stunner, but she would have a soft natural beauty. In my opinion anyway... There was a Dove ad that screened in Australia years ago, where they took an average girl from the street and filmed their photoshop techs doing the image up. The ad was introducing their campaign for real beauty. I liked that ad because even though the chick from the street was cute, it showed that companies feel a need to make her into something false.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
I agree -- the tagline is absurd. Nonsensical. There are natural beauties out there who don't need the cosmetic industry.
amelioratelj amelioratelj 8 years
I agree Bella, thank you for this post! I think ads like these are disgusting and's horrifying to me that models these days are so photoshopped they are hardly real anymore! Presenting an unrealistic stereotype of beauty that is simply NOT achievable is wrong. When will things change?
jadenirvana jadenirvana 8 years
Ugh! As a Seattle girl, I have to admit many of us look more like the former picture, and we sure don't appreciate being made fun of for embracing our natural beauty. Thanks for the heads-up Bella!
sourcherry sourcherry 8 years
I agree, it's insulting! Nyx took the words out of my mouth.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
This is why I resisted a lot of beauty products before. They hold women to some crazy "ideal beauty"...and if you're not it, you're a frumpy, zitty, ugly mess. You've GOT to use their products/beauty products in general. Which is totally untrue! Wait...doesn't the tagline on the ad say something along the lines of "use [whatever the product is] to save the planet?" It looks like French, I don't know much, does anybody know? Like you can become some superhero by being beautiful?!
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 8 years
I don't even like the after anyway, especially with the overly thinned out eyebrows. I prefer full brows myself. I think photoshopped pictures usually make a person look like they're literally made of plastic or wax which I don't find remotely appealing.
tatsauce tatsauce 8 years
I agree! Terrible ad.
Angelica Angelica 8 years
It's so troubling! And even more troubling that so few people will have the same visceral and processed reaction to it that you did, Bella!
nyx1 nyx1 8 years
I agree with you 100%! I love beauty, but I think it's mean to judge and make fun of women who don't make it a priority, or are comfortable enough with their appearance that they don't feel the need to "fix" themselves. And honestly, saving whales is contributing more to society than making yourself look pretty is. Beauty should be about making yourself feel good or expressing yourself. Women shouldn't be scared into applying makeup out of fear of social rejection or ridicule! I really hate how ads like this try to control women.
lrinl lrinl 8 years
I don't get what the big deal is. There are before after pictures all over the place for diet drugs, botox, face creams, hair products, cosmetic surgeries, etc. etc.. This one simply combined them all. Why is that suddenly not okay?
emalove emalove 8 years
I agree with you, Bella. This type of ad is lame. Just because a woman may choose to not wear makeup or care about the latest hairstyles doesn't mean she looks like a mess.
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