Society has a continuous love/hate relationship with the beauty industry- we love their products and the results it gives, yet we loathe how these products masks our true selves. As of recently, society has been placing importance on the concept of natural beauty. There are plenty of companies, like Dove and Burt’s Bees, who have joined in the campaign to promote self-esteem in women. However, the argument of how natural is a product and how can one embrace ones’ natural beauty while beauty shops are constantly selling products that are meant cover this natural beauty.
The Body Shop was and still is aware of the self- image debacle that women are constantly battling. After all, “to promote self-esteem”is one of their key values as a company. In 1997, they created the Ruby campaign which challenged the belief that beauty is directly related to size. Ruby, the size 16 campaign doll, challenged the stereotypes of the ideal woman for she looked like a Barbie doll of an average women.
With the slogan “There are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only 8 who do” The Body Shop was able to connect to their consumers on a more intimate level for it allowed the customers to see that although this company is part of the cosmetics industry their definition and idea of beauty is not in agreement with the usual message that the industry displays.
“Ruby is the fruit of our long-established practice of challenging the way the cosmetic industry talks to women. The Ruby campaign is designed to promote the idea that The Body Shop creates products designed to enhance features, moisturize, cleanse, and polish, not to correct ‘flaws.’ The Body Shop philosophy is that there is real beauty in everyone. We are not claiming that our products perform miracles.’”-Randy Williamson, spokesperson for the Body Shop
This campaign was an eye-opener to the public for the Body Shop was one of the first companies to challenge image with Ruby. With all campaigns some can admire it while others disapprove as seen with Mattel, a toy company, who argued that Ruby created a bad image for Barbie and provided The Body Shop with a cease-and-desist order. (Check out what Anita Roddick has to say about it: http://www.anitaroddick.com/readmore.php?sid=13 ) Personally, and as you can see with Roddick’s response in her blog, I believe this was quiet the compliment to the Body Shop because it meant that Ruby was working- she was able to intimidate certain companies/people with her message of embracing her natural self, her natural beauty. She was able to reassure and confirm to women that one should not follow or believe the trends of “ideal beauty” imposed by society but to know that there are other women out there who look/feel the same way and are advocating for change.
Although I admire the Body Shop for creating such a campaign I can not help to know that this campaign was created 17 years ago ! That is INSANE to think about. A company should know that society is constantly changing and yes it was a campaign, which, depending on the sort and the importance of it, can either be a longitudinal or short term, yet, they are a cosmetics company therefore, beauty issues should always be of top priority. I am advocating for change- there should be a follow up campaign. It is the 21st century and things are completely different in 2014 from 1997. The issue of self-image and self-esteem is of utmost ranking with women and with The Body Shop being in the beauty industry, it is their job to remind women that they are beautiful and that beauty comes in different shapes and sizes.
‘‘As the personification of The Body Shop’s commitment to self-esteem, Ruby is more than just an image; she’s a state of mind—strong, independent and informed. She doesn’t weigh her self-esteem against false standards. She loves her body and is true to herself.’’