This original advertisement is from Dior, in which Natalie Portman is the face of this high-end beauty brand. Dior claims this foundation and bronzer in this advertisement on their website to be “beneficial as a breath of fresh air, for an enhanced complexion with sheer correction (Dior). However, I have several issues regarding this particular advertisement, which is applicable to almost all advertisement from Dior, and many other makeup brands.
The first issue I have regarding this advertisement is the photo-shopped skin, to make it seem as if Natalie Portman’s skin is perfectly smooth, flattering, pore-less, and “seductive” in order to sell their makeup line. However, this is a concern for me, as I have never seen any individual wearing makeup, let alone a foundation from Dior to have flawless skin like the one illustrated in this advertisement. The photo-shopped skin creates an unrealistic ideal for many women and men, as clearly makeup is not completley effective in covering all types of skin issues. For example, how about individuals with severe cystic acne? Or individuals with inconsistent facial textures, or large pores? Being a woman who has worn makeup since middle school ( 20 years old right now), I can say from my experience that no foundation can effectively cover acne, acne bumps, flaky skin, etc, to the extent that is being exhibited in this advertisement.
Another issue I have regarding this advertisement is sexualizing the female body to sell makeup; and how Dior only uses Natalie Portman (white, skinny, model) to sell their makeup. It seems as if Dior is trying to sell their products to only fit a certain type of individual: White, Female, and Skinny. Based on my previous knowledge, I am aware that media can boost self-esteem where it is providing examples of a variety of body shapes, roles, and routes of achievement for young men and women. However, companies such as Dior portrays a limited number of body shapes and messages linking external appearance with beauty, success, and femininity, which can be deduced from all of their advertisements.
I altered the original advertisement image from Dior, by adding a photoshop symbol (Ps) to elucidate that the original image has indeed been photoshopped. The tools bar I have inserted represents the many tools that can be used to photoshop an image to make the image seem flawless, followed by the tools bar below. I have inserted the “spot healing brush tool” by her upper face to show how even though she may be wearing foundation from “Dior”, that does not mean it will cover up all spots, including acne, acne scars, textural inconsistencies, pores, wrinkles, etc; instead, photoshop has re-touched her face to make it seem as it was the makeup that made her skin look appealing the way it does in the advertisement.
Companies should realize that they have a responsibility to think about the message they send to consumers of these products every day. The connection between the propagation of unrealistic skin, body images, and negative health effects, especially in girls and young women has been established (Martin 2010). Thus, the message they send to consumers should reflect their purpose of helping individuals on their path to better self-esteem and health. I believe there should be no transparency when it comes to beauty imagery; and to allow individuals to differentiate between authentic and materially altered imagery, where unrealistic beauty standards are not reinforced. Furthermore, companies should be using diverse models from different ethnic backgrounds, and identity, for example, individuals from the LGBTQ community and aboriginal community to promote their products; in contrast to Dior who only uses Natalie Portman as the face of Dior for advertisements. I believe bringing this issue is salient to put forward the claim that beauty and makeup is for all individuals, regardless of race, identity, physical appearance, etc; and to re-emphasise the importance for beauty companies to develop a wider range of makeup that can be suited for all individuals; as one foundation/makeup may not be suited for all individuals of colour and skin types.
Taking everything into account, what needs to occur is a shift towards banning photoshop for advertisements and the inclusion of a diverse range of models from different backgrounds. This should be taken into consideration by all makeup companies ranging from high-end brands such as Dior, to makeup brands that can be seen in drug stores. This shift is salient for the mental health of our generation; especially due to the fact that a lot of what influences young individuals today is through advertisements and social media which fuels our intrinsic habit of comparing ourselves to others. If we receive the message that we must look a certain way in order to be successful, even if it is unrealistic, it shapes our views of what success looks like.
Dior. DiorSkin Nude Air Serum. Retrieved from https://www.dior.com/beauty/en_us/fragrance-beauty/makeup/face/foundation/pr-foundation-y0778930-nude-healthy-glow-ultra-fluid-serum-foundation.html
Martin, J. B. (2010). The development of ideal body image perceptions in the united states. Nutrition Today, 45(3), 98-110.
WardrobeTrendsFashion. (2015). Natalie Portman for Miss Dior 2015 Fragrance Ads. [Photograph]. Retrieved from http://wardrobetrendsfashion.com/natalie-portman-for-miss-dior-2015-fragrance-ads/