Dove ad: Before and After

Oh Unilever…

Dove has been praised by some for its (sometimes) realistic depiction of women: the evolution video, with its accurate stylist/makeup/photoshop; the beauty pressure ad; the True Colors commercial (which makes me cry every time I see it); the whole campaign for real beauty/self-esteem fund/age.

Dove gets it right some of the time. Even though its owned by Unilever, the same company that owns Axe.

But sometimes, Dove falls short. Like in this magazine ad, which has run in O Magazine, Cosmopolitan, and probably more.

Now, obviously this advertisement is about skin care and the visible effects of this new moisturizing body wash. For all people. But, unfortunately, the design of the ad makes it seem like the Before and After refer to the models as well as the texture of skin.

As Gwen Sharp at Sociological Images says,

the arrangement of the models combined with the text above and below them unfortunately intersects with a cultural history in which White skin was seen as inherently “more beautiful” than non-White skin (not to mention thinner bodies as more beautiful than larger ones).

The ad makes it seem like a larger, darker-skinned, curly-haired woman transforms miraculously into a smaller, white blonde woman. Just by using Dove body wash. Which, of course, makes the assumption that white skin, blonde hair and thinner bodies are more beautiful and attractive than darker skin, darker hair and larger bodies.

I’ve got to say I cringe every time I see this ad. And I saw the double message the first time I looked at this advertisement. I seriously doubt that at least one person at the advertising company or at Unilever/Dove didn’t catch this before the ad was okay’d to run.

Seriously, #wtf #DoveFail

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  1. #1 by erin on November 13, 2011 - 12:06 am

    I thought this same exact thing when I saw this in a magazine. Looked up this picture to show my mother, and here it was with a similar comment. How can we rally together to make a statement. I’m appalled.

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