"Be Ugly" Campaign…not quite cutting it.

Not sure where I stand on this one, but I am leaning towards –ahhh, no. 

ABC’s dreamed up a new campaign “Be Ugly, Be You,” a spin off of the popular show Ugly Betty staring America Ferrera. Ferrera plays a made up “ugly girl” in the show, but in real life she is a naturally pretty, curvy young lady.

00001820-288816.jpg america-ferrera-02.jpg

This all just seems too Hollywood for me. Here’s the pitch “Let’s take a beautiful girl, make her “ugly,” and then spin it into a campaign for girls to like who they are!”  HUH?

ABC says the campaign is aimed at promoting self-esteem in teenage girls, it sends a message that redefines beauty and dispels stereotypes. We want to encourage girls to “be real, be smart, be passionate, be true to yourself and be ugly.”

Below is the “Be Ugly” T-shirt and “Empower ring” you can order if you are into this idea:


Ugly is in! Spread the word with a Be Ugly 07 t-shirt and receive an ‘Empower’ ring free with purchase. The white Ugly Betty t-shirt features an image of a joyous Betty with Be Ugly printed below in green. ABC’s net proceeds benefit Girls Inc., inspiring all girls to be smart, strong and bold.

Be Ugly! Be you!

Price: $24.95

On the positive side, all proceeds go to Girls, Inc. a non-profit group dedicated to inspiring all girls to be Strong, Smart, Bold! I like it….but it took me a while to find it since ABC does not include links from their site to Girls, Inc… that’s odd.

I guess I’ll take the good with the bad on this one.

Side note, as I wrote this story this morning, my six year old daughter woke up, hoped into bed with me and leaned over to see what I was looking at. She saw the headline “Ugly Betty” on my computer screen and said “That’s mean.”

Enough said. 

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12 Responses to "Be Ugly" Campaign…not quite cutting it.

  1. Melissa says:

    I agree with your daughter.

    What girl wants to wear a T-shirt saying she’s ugly? I know I don’t.

  2. kree81 says:

    I think I shirt saying “Be Ugly” for a young girl is much more empowering that wearing the alternatives that seem to be in the market such “Look at my Hooters” (with images of owls over the breasts) and “Love me because I am beautiful”.

    Although I agree that they might be missing the mark trying to make UGLY the new BEAUTY. I think the message when you get down to it is really BE YOU! Let’s be honest the BE UGLY part is only really a plug for the show.

  3. Jen says:

    I’m just about to post a video on youtube and post on my blog about one of the little girls in my class. Today we had a big issue with her reading ‘JANE’ in class. She was trying to get inspiration so she wouldn’t be an “ugly betty.” Scary…

  4. Niika says:

    Oh my gosh… I can’t believe that! How in the world is it promoting anybody’s self-esteem to be called ugly? That’s like saying it will make a person feel less fat to call them obese! People are so idiotic sometimes.

    Sorry, but this really has me riled…

  5. emilyishere says:

    i think it’s sending a good message but the t-shirt’s sort of going overboard.

  6. Bec says:

    I am not understanding the Be Ugly campaign beyond it being a promo for ABC. My daughter and I enjoy the show but really what are they trying to say? Does ugly equate smart? And let’s face it, if a classically beautiful girl wears a shirt saying “Be Ugly” it is ironic. If a plain girl were to wear it she may be taunted. I don’t want my daughter to be ugly. I want her to be strong, confident, compassionate and spicy. I want her to know she is loved for who she is. Additionally, I want my daughter and son to see beauty in everybody. Maybe I am just a backwards Momma.

  7. mamavision says:

    Hi Bec: Yesterday on The View, Elisabeth, the beautiful blond host, had the “be ugly” shirt on and it looked odd. It made her appear “fake” because she is beautiful so its easy for her to say be ugly because she is not. I really think Elisabeth is quite sincere, and she wore the shirt to promote Girls, Inc which is the real purpose behind this ABC fronted promo. Bottomline, this whole thing is just not jiving with me.

  8. Em says:

    When I read the first time you mentioned “Be Ugly! Be You!” I was like, what the hell? Your daughter’s right on: Calling someone “Ugly Betty” or saying “Be Ugly! Be You!” is just not appropriate. My first thought was “That’s bogus.” I think saying something like that would lower someone’s self esteem, not make them feel better about themselves.

    *first time commenting*

  9. mamavision says:

    Hi Em! Nice to meet you. I just don’t get this whole “Be Ugly” thing. It just seems to be the wrong approach if you are trying to combat the whole beauty focus we have in this country.

    Plus how hypocritical is it that we take this pretty girl, dress her up to be “ugly” -its just mean and stereotypical, and perpetuating the whole ugly vs pretty thing isn’t it?

    I have to admit I have not really watched the show, just bits and pieces, perhaps the program adresses this in a good way?


  10. Bess says:

    Also a first time commenter, and I have to say, as a huge fan of the show, that at least as far as the character of Betty goes, she is unfazed by other people’s opinion about her looks. It has taken her a long time to get that way, but now that she has achieved that sense of confidence, it shines through and makes people, who would ordinarily ignore her, sit up and take notice, and in some cases, love her and admire her. She makes her “ugliness” beautiful by being herself, so I think that is the underlying thought behind “Be Ugly – Be You”. Of course, it also is a marketing ploy, but I think there is some genuine truth behind it.

  11. julie may says:

    Where can I buy this shirt?

  12. Miss Liz says:

    The first thing that popped into my head was “Not Another Teen Movie” (I know, shoot me).

    Remove the glasses and let down the hair, and oh my god, that “ugly girl” is smokin’ hot. Yeah baby, prom queen material.

    This particular movie approached it satirically, of course. But many others actually relied on this type of “makeover” as a serious development in plot.

    No seriously, shoot me.

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