Smell the Dove

Thank you, Sun-Times and Channel 2 fellas, for exposing those Dove billboards for the anti-erection propaganda that they are. That’s right: in their menacing white panties, the Dove women are chunky size-ten threats to the fantasies that Chicago newsmen clearly feel entitled to enjoy at all times, or at least while commuting or running errands, or rushing out to cover a breaking story about a fire or a murder or whatever, or otherwise cavorting through the vast, roofless Playboy mansion that is our entire goddamn city. Because apparently it’s bad enough that actual women are allowed to walk around Michigan Avenue or Navy Pier with their real live fleshy-flesh sticking out from under shorts and halter tops as if it were hot out or something, as if Richard Roeper’s boner wasn’t totally at stake. (Does he think it’s like his thumb and that he gets to vote with it?)

Plus I love it when these editorials say stuff like “ads should be about the beautiful people” (see the second segment), and “if I want to see plump gals baring too much skin, I’ll go to Taste of Chicago,” as if it were all just a matter of venue–because, what, it’s of great masturbatory importance to see chubby chicks in one place and not another? Like are there secret freaky Old Testament-style Jerk-Off Laws that prohibit getting off on “real women” when they’re served up on the same platter used for taut model fantasy fucktoys? I know these guys are talking out of their asses, but there’s a whiff of righteous outrage coming out of there, too, and it’s creepy.

And don’t even get me started on this guy’s remark about these ads encouraging people to be out of shape. Uh, yeah, we can see right through that, and it doesn’t help the “obesity epidemic” any when the chub you’re most concerned about is the one in your pants, dude. We know what’s up with that. (Or what’s not up. Or… ew.)

(I’ve recently upgraded and redesigned this site. To view the reader comments for this entry–and there were plenty–on the old site, click here. New comments can be left below.)


  1. anonymous says

    don’t forget that these guys, who are so critical of the new dove gals, are no “lookers” themselves.

    the hypocrisy is unbelievable, and i thought it almost too kind of you to omit that point in your writing.

    who are those men to judge? and why? too much internet porn…

  2. anonymous says

    but a friend made the point also that showing healthy bodies
    and then selling firming cream is kind of stupid…

  3. glenna says

    I agree with that first comment. Roeper isn’t exactly doing it for me either. He can kiss the fattest part of my butt.

  4. says

    That’s funny – for the longest time, I thought Richard Roeper was gay; now I know he’s just another heterosexual asshole.

  5. Charlie says

    I loved your response in the Sun-Times and the comparision between this entry and your toned-down language in the response. You make me smile and I’m so glad i’m not the only one seething.

  6. Anonymous says

    Excellent Work Wendy-love the Sun Times article. Thanks for speaking for all of us “normal shaped” women. Well done

  7. Anonymous says

    As an actress in Los Angeles who has been paid to be “attractive” and called “stunning” by the critics when I was utterly anorexic (5’5″ and 100 lbs), it is both refreshing and amazing to see different body types displayed in the media. Good for Dove! They has brought up the age old argument about “What is Beauty?” Which has vastly changed over the so called evolution of society.

    I bet there are many men out there who are happy to see size ten women on billboards because they actually find them ATTRACTIVE. Yes hold the presses – there are men who like women with extra flesh! During a film shoot I lost about 15 pounds from working long hours and it greatly displeased my boyfriend at the time. He eventually dumped me for a larger lady.

    The childish comments from the male critics and some of my female counterparts who don’t approve is just another testament to the fact that Americans are brainwashed beyond their own comprehension. It is ludicrous to think that there would be one standard of beauty. If it were not for the constant media images thrown upon us from birth we might actually embrace our own ideas of what is beautiful. That is if we could actually find them.

    Personally I doubt most people even have a clue as to what they themselves truly find beautiful. I for one am sick of seeing blond thin clones all over Sunset Boulevard (and I am a blond fit clone – lol). Lets see some adversity both ethnicaly and weight wise. Oh and hey – wouldn’t it be nice to see more men in ads!

  8. says

    You know, my fem-boner has really been suffering as a result of the Dove billboards. I’m glad Dicky Roeper had the balls to say something about it. Which brings me to my next point — why has nobody cut off his balls yet? I’m sure plenty of “chubby” women would be more than happy to do the honors of pinning him down.

  9. Ceibhfhionn says

    It seems to me the way women are supposed to be depicted now is as “pornographic desirable.” If you don’t fit into that category jack, you may as well kiss your f**king days goodbye.

    Here’s the killer, but not exactly a news flash: pornographic desirable is just another method of controlling people. Women are told that this is how we need to be in order to hold the male attention. Or to put it into 50’s terminology, to “get our man.” Quite frankly, in this media propelled instant gratification society of Walmart and McDonalds, Porn is lacking, shall we say, the zest of life: creativity. The instant that, in “mainstream” society, erotica went the way of the dodo bird and the blase,unchallenging, repetitive, asexual (yes, asexual) being of Pornography leapt to the forefront, things went awry. Pornography doesn’t challenge, it is safe, it doesn’t ask that you have any kind of human interaction. It is the great disconnecter. Let’s face it, women who are on the slender side of emaciated with fake breasts and lips and a full page “spread” are women who are not about to be threatening. Women who are not about to leap off the page and be real and in your face with real lips and erotic desires asking to be interacted with, played with, asking to be touched and to touch back. Those Dove ads do something to the libidinous psyches of newsmen: they ask them to be real people. That’s the real epidemic in our western society. So get it up with another human being for a change, without hiding all alone in your computer room at night in the dark with the lights off. The challenge to being Real in this world is to get past who we think we should be, or who we think we should screw, or who we think we must become in order to fit into some strange orchestral arrangement of the western ideal.

  10. Robinson says

    I think those women are beautiful; they are actually built the way we were meant to be, the women on tv that are considered beautiful, who are only 100 pounds–have you noticed that a lot of them wear long pants and long sleeve shirts?

    Why do you suppose that is? Could it be to hide their protruding bones?

    And they are built like teenage boys–now when is it natural to be something you are not? A girl is built different than a guy; woman’s hormones are geared towards a totally different physique.

    Too bad some men can’t accept the fact that one can be a woman–look like a woman– without being a nitwit at the same time, but rather very intelligent and very sensible in. Without having to act like they’re a guy in order to be recognized as having wonderful qualities that have nothing to do with submission to male egos.

  11. Bubbles says

    There’s nothing wrong with the Dove people using “real women” in their ads – they are the women who will be buying the product. Not every woman can be or wants to be a “stick” figure. What is the “real woman” image anyway? Does Roper meet the “real man” image? People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!

  12. Lisa McD says

    I’m not from Chicago. I am from New York and the same arguments are going on here as well. When I saw the ad I e-mailed Dove immediately to thank them. As far as this Roper guy goes, he can have all the models he wants and as he grows old and his dick shrivels up and his money is gone, we’ll see what type of women he wants. As far as healthy goes, here’s the deal, you don’t have to be super thin to be healthy. I’m 39, 5’2″, 130lbs and I have flab around my belly but I can get on a bike and cycle 50 miles without any hestitation. I also run my local highschool bleachers 10-12 laps. I get joined sometimes by kids half my age and I still out run them. I exercise to keep myself out of pain and keep up with my son not so some guy can say, “hey nice ass.” Who does this guy think he is 1970’s Ron Burgundy, anchorman. He’s upset because the normal 98% of us think he is a jerk and that only leaves him 2% to date. Good luck asshole.

  13. anonymous says

    These women are very beautiful. I love their cuves. They seem to be very comfortable in their own skin and I think it’s great. Good for Dove and Good for these women.

  14. says

    thank you for writing that article. it sums up exactly what i’ve been thinking and feeling on this subject.

    the men in boston, who i might add, are NOT fit themselves, constantly berate women who are not 5’9″ 110#. it’s disgusting. they call regular, normal sized women “seacows” and seriously treat them like second class citizens. i’ve seen this happen first hand when i was out to dinner with my fiance. and they WONDER why they can’t meet anyone when they go out to the bars on a friday or saturday night! the male population (with very few exceptions) makes me ill. misogyny is in full effect.

    as a larger woman, i really like the dove ads. they don’t make me want to buy their products for the sole reason that i don’t like lotions and those types of items. it’s not because of the women at all. i hope they keep this up. the male dominated, penis-centric world needs to realize that we’re human and come in every color, shape, and size. and without us, where would they be?

  15. Mollie says

    I am a 26 year-old, 170 lb woman and I love the Dove ad. I am not grossed out by seeing someone who looks like me on a billboard. I love those fearless women for doing what I can not do. I wish the ad appeared earlier in my life. I am however, grateful that it exists for my students and my little sister who is 11 years younger than me. The ad is not life affirming, yet it provides for me a sense of hope that she and my female students have other options for image affirmations.

  16. anonymous says

    Okay I just happened to see a picture of Richard Roeper and Channel 2 guys. And they have the nerve to call those beautiful girls fat and ugly! Better change those too small for you glasses Richard and look again. Having two daughters myself it is hard enough on young girls without having ignorant men make such remarks. Better pray that if you have daughters they are size 0 and never weigh more than 80 pounds.

  17. anon says

    they aren’t even that big! i wonder what they’d say if i got up there, all 220 pounds of me (or before, all 255) in underwear. OH THE HUMANITY!!!

  18. Candy says

    Oh how I wish I were as articulate as you. Your response was perfect. When I saw the ads (in print) for the first time I thought – at last some real people!

  19. says

    At least the gals on the billboard will sleep better knowing a creep like Roeper isn’t thinking of them as he jerks off. I can just picture him and Bill O’Reilly in a bar, trying to pick up some “hot chicks”. News flash: Everyone on that billboard is out of his league!

    Who’s up for a Million Mama March to Roeper’s house? We can throw bars of Dove at him :p

  20. Sherri says

    So — we are all in agreement: we should buy the hell out of the DOVE products, right? Because all of our saluting the ads won’t do a thing to move advertising in the direction of sanity, if this ad doesn’t work!!!

  21. says

    Yeah, it pisses my shit off too.

    I just went to the dove website to see the ads again, because I remember thinking that the women were NOT fat, just normal. Healthy looking. And yep, that’s what they are. I think they are beautiful women, I wish I looked more like that in my bra and panties.

    And those bastards have the right to criticise them? There are way too many assholes in the media today.

    And I’m totally in for the Million Mama March, Emily! I have lots of bars of dove soap, and I would love to pelt Roeper with a bar and maybe give him a little bruise. Hey, I may be “fat” by his standards, but I still work out! Can he say the same?

  22. Missy says

    I was initially surprised by the campaign– not because it was done, but because the first time that I saw the ad, I didn’t even notice that the “fat” women were anything out of the ordinary. It was only after hearing about the (mostly whiny male) hoopla that I realized that some people thought that these beautiful women were fat. Is this what we have become? So utterly brainwashed by Advertising/Hollywood media that we don’t even recognize beauty when it is right in front of us? In our own mirrors? Let’s stop torturing and mutilating ourselves. Whiny men who complain about the results: you can kiss my slightly flabby ass, which, last time I checked, was still considerably smaller than yours. (Oh, and wait until us ladies begin writing about all of those appalling ads and television shows featuring bald men… “ugly” and “undesirable”, right? Hardly something that we would want to see ourside our bedroom windows or on our television sets, right, Mr. Roeper?)

  23. says

    One thing that really bugs me about the campaign is that if you go to its Web site (, they ask you to vote on the women’s bodys (e.g. “oversized or outstanding?”). So it’s like they are asking for criticism and pointing out themselves that these bodies might be viewed as “too big.” It skeeves me out. It’s not; I don’t really think we need to be inviting the public to vote on these women’s bodies!

    Even though the models may have larger bodies than the average underwear model, they are still all very traditionally pretty. I’d like to see a model up there with stretch marks and cellullite!

  24. Rena says

    NO FAT CHICKS, the snotty cry of pre-teen boys–afraid of the OTHER and wishing for narcissistic safety in like bodies–caused me to gain 50 pounds on purpose. At 13 years old, I was gorgeous. 500 ugly men wanted to have sex with me, which frightened me to death. The extra 50 lbs. protected me and allowed me to be a human being. Men who don’t like meat should stick to other men or skeletons in the graveyard.

  25. dirtwitch says

    I couldn’t care less of what any jack ass man thinks of an ad campaign geared to WOMEN. WOMEN buy these beauty products, not men. I’m really impressed that, rather than preying on women’s existing insecurities and unattainable goals of minimizing themselves (and honestly I know more men who appreciate natural curves on women than I do women who appreciate the same) Dove is using healthy women with great skin to sell their products.

  26. kristine says

    My husband loves the Dove ads and thinks the girls are super sexy. The first time he saw the ad with the 3 girls together the first words out of his mouth were, “Oh wow! Sexy hotties with curves!”, but hey, he’s a curvy hips man.

  27. Maria says

    The Dove ladies send this message,
    “As long as your fat is under control, no flab is hanging loose, your skin is smooth, you’re not too old or wrinkly, don’t wear glassses, and not Asian, you’re fine! If not, buy our cellulite cream because you’re not acceptable.”

  28. Victor says

    They should run adverts featuring the ugly, overweight, bald guys who criticise these normal and beautiful looking women.

    I guess maybe they are really into men? I’ve noticed that men who like very emaciated looking women tend to really be homosexuals.

  29. Florentine says

    Roeper is rather clueless (the ads were meant for women, not horny men), but one reason why his words stung so many women is that they were a cold reality check to those of us who like to delude ourselves into believing that everyone is equally beautiful. The Dove models are attractive in an everyday sort of way, but extraordinarily gorgeousl they’re not. Why is Dove pushing this patronizing pablum on adults? (Other than to cannily sell its products, that is). Being a grownup means being able to be realistic about your flaws, not having to be coddled with a lot of politically correct wishful thinking.