No matter how accidentally problematic she could be, your mom probably did her best.
For years, I fell victim to every diet plan and exercise regimen in the book. From low-carb to Crossfit, I would spend every waking minute obsessively counting my calories and my squats only to see the same number on the scale every morning. I spent my mornings jogging and my nights doing sit-ups while staring at a bottle of body wash and listening to “Someday My Prince Will Come.” But no longer, for I finally see my body type reflected in a Dove soap bottle, and I couldn’t be happier.
For the past century, women everywhere have been exposed to the unhealthy standards promoted by soap bottles. They’re everywhere—tainting your afternoon candy run from the shelves of the drug store, mocking you mercilessly from transparent shopping bags on the subway, drowning you in judgement from the side of your tub during a bath. Even if you’re a good feminist and don’t use traditionally-shaped bottles of body wash in your home, there’s no escaping the sample bottles in the mail, the single-use bottles in hotel rooms or the embarrassingly large communal pump bottle at the gym.
It starts young, too. Baby girls start recognizing the shape of baby shampoo bottles as early as six months old. Studies show that even when children are given bar soap, they often can still be affected by seeing body wash bottles in their parents’ bathroom.
By the time they hit puberty, young girls are often so brainwashed by what they think a soap bottle “should” look like, they can’t even accurately gauge how many milliliters are in a given container.
I was like that once, too. Despite having a body type usually described as more “bath bomb” than “body wash,” I hung pictures of soap bottles in my locker at school. I imagined myself getting married in a white strapless dress with the stark white corners of my body edged out of the dress. At a low point, I listened as my then-boyfriend masturbated with my bottle of Shea Butter Shower Foam after rejecting me. But slowly, I started realizing exactly how brainwashed Big Body Wash Bottles made us.
Did you know that if a travel size body wash was the size of adult person, it would have no room for internal organs? It would have to crawl instead of walk because of the unrealistic proportions and it would be so underweight it wouldn’t be able to menstruate.
Did you know that if Marilyn Monroe were alive today and in the shape of a soap bottle, she would be a standard 34 oz, not a 16.9 oz?
Did you know that the average American woman would choose to be filled with citrus-scented body wash, had she the choice?
But now, thanks to Dove’s new marketing campaign, body types such as mine are finally legitimized, accepted and celebrated. I feel that I can go out into this world and be proud of the way I look. Instead of dieting, I can accept my shape. Instead of striving for perfection, girls will strive for one of a few versions of perfection. Instead of shouting things at me from a car about my ass, men will see me and quietly reflect on how much I look like one of several different half-full bottles in their shower stall.
Thank you, Dove, on behalf of women everywhere.