The skin and hair care brand, Dove, is best known for two things, great smelling products and their pro-selfimage campaign. Their campaign, known as ‘Real Beauty’, began in 2004 through a notable ad, where it included women of all different kinds of beauty and had them judged as “oversized or outstanding?” and “wrinkled or wonderful?”
According to Dove’s website the purpose of this campaign was “to start a global conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty.” In April, the company came out with an emotional video that once again caught a lot of publicity.
The video involved seven women who met with a sketch artist to describe how they saw themselves. The sketch artist was FBI-trained forensic artist, Gil Zamora, who after sketching the women’s description of themselves, then asked thewomen to describe one of the other women that they met that day.
At the end of the video, the self-described sketches and the sketches that the women described of the strangers were compared. The purpose of this exercise was to see how much kinder the women described one another compared to how they described themselves, and to let the women know that they are “more beautiful than they think.”
This social experiment of Dove’s has done some positive work by not only once again promoting a positive self-image for women, but also by promoting respect among women.
Unfortunately, there are some negatives to Dove’s Real Beauty campaign that are being brought up because of this new ad. Journalist Megan Daum for the Chicago Tribune points out many things that are not quite beautiful about this campaign.
One of her complaints about the ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ video is the way the women demean themselves. Daum says that by having these women in the video point out the things they don’t like about themselves, it is a way of “deeming them undesirable.”
Another point she makes is that Dove has a “profit-making interest” in encouraging selfloathing. Not only that, but many are troubled by the women that Dove chooses to use in their Real Beauty ads.
Some commentators find the women used in the ‘Sketches’ video to be “too young, thin and too light-skinned to represent the real.” Daum also points out that the ad emphasizes that “beauty matters a lot.”
Huffington Post journalist Emma Gray states that Dove is owned by the company Unilever. This is the same company that owns Axe. In case you’ve never seen an Axe commercial or any form of advertisement from them, their ads are “king of misogyny,” says Gray.
Often their ads have skinny models walking around in bikinis, fawning over the men who use one of the various forms of Axe. This is definitely not something to be found in one of Dove’s Real Beauty advertisements.
Blogger Jazz makes a good point about Dove, saying that their marketing teams “brilliant and talented” and that the company points out that “most of us are our own harshest critics.”
Dove is on the right track by acknowledging that women are very harsh about their selfimage and by spreading the message that every body and woman is beautiful; however, the company also needs to realize that there are certain messages lacking in their ads and in their representation of the women who make up this world.