Alan Mckee says that the public sphere is for “human beings [to] come together to exchange ideas and information and feelings about what matters to them“. While the metaphorical sphere has taken many forms over the years, the integral idea remains the same – building and encouraging discussion and debate over current issues. The ongoing debate of media and body image is one that is unlikely to disappear. However, when the Dove Self-Esteem Campaign disseminated, it sparked global attention and infiltrated many social spheres.
This campaign ticks all the right boxes regarding the concerns that popular media has – emotional, relationships and personal problems just to name a few. However, it does leave a few unchecked – including:
- the only power we have is in the realm of our own lives
- the only issues that are presented in popular media are those closely related to people/businesses in power.
I say that these are left unchecked as print media wanted to silence this particular debate as it was intentionally directed at them and they rightfully felt threatened by the growing popularity of citizens wanting realistic figures in media and less sexualised women in ads. This shows that public spheres are somewhat powerful when it comes to propagating current issues. Furthermore, this campaign highlights the fact that we do not only have power in our own lives but we have a voice that can potentially gain strength in other individual’s lives. This notion of touching other’s lives was because of public spheres and the discussions that continued outside these circles.
However, there was quite a lot of criticism when it was first released. Chicago CBS news reporter, Bill Zwecker said,”we are facing a huge obesity problem in this country, we don’t need to encourage anyone — women or men– to think it’s okay to be out of shape.” I think he missed the point or was not attending his local public sphere.
Note: This is another amazing Dove Ad written and directed again by the wonderful Tim Piper:-