Hypersensitivity Alert: Dove’s ‘Racist’ Beauty Advertisement
The internet is currently buzzing with a new racial controversy and you can almost bet someone’s getting fired. Popular beauty brand, Dove and their VisibleCare Body Wash advertisement are causing quite a debate.
The ad apparently has racist undertones in the depiction of women of different skin tones that implies that the lighter woman was the ideal result.
Given the history of the U.S. and advertising of beauty products globally that encourage the lightening of skin, it is important that we hold brands accountable for the damage they cause.
With this new discussion, sensationalized article titles and wording like Copyranter‘s “Dove body wash turns Black Women into Latino Women into White Women,” Jezebel‘s“Bye-bye black skin, hello white skin! (Scrub hard!)” and “The Unintentionally Racist Ad From Dove” from Guanabee.com, I was expecting to be fuming about what Dove has done!
To the contrary, my only reaction was, “are they fucking kidding? This is it?” #abortProtest
We believe that real beauty comes in many shapes, sizes, colors and ages and are committed to featuring realistic and attainable images of beauty in all our advertising. We are also dedicated to educating and encouraging all women and girls to build a positive relationship with beauty, to help raise self-esteem and to enable them to realize their full potential.
The ad is intended to illustrate the benefits of using Dove VisibleCare Body Wash, by making skin visibly more beautiful in just one week. All three women are intended to demonstrate the “after” product benefit. We do not condone any activity or imagery that intentionally insults any audience.”
Maybe, because I’m a designer as well as a consumer, I see the ad differently. It’s clearly a body wash that is supposed to help your crispity-crackily dry ass skin improve.
I’m also a cynic who doesn’t believe everything an ad tells me about a product. Or maybe I’m just not running around looking to be upset about something or in this case, anything.
Perhaps, like a sensible person, I can see that the intent of this ad is to market a product to women of all shapes, colors, and sizes.
If the ad had three blonde chicks of varied sizes, people would scream, “where’s the Latina, Asian or Black women?”
If they didn’t include a plus-sized model, someone would make a remark about exclusion of diversity in that too… “look at these skinny bitches.”
While we’re at it, let’s gripe about how the Black model isn’t dark enough and how that “makes dark Black women hate themselves.” Let’s go even further… if the body wash can lighten skin, can it help the curvy Black model shed some pounds too?
Ahh, so Dove hates niggers, spics AND fatties, I get it! And maybe they do. Maybe they are tapping into a well-known psychological multi-level issue of skin-color bias.
I guess I am just insensitive then because there are just so many other racist things to discuss, like “studies” by Psychology Today that prove Black women are unattractive.
There are better things to protest like the U.S. House of Representives and their blatant attack on women in this country.
Our rights are being infringed upon while we whine about could-be racist patchy-skin adverts.
The mention of these issues may be comparing apples to oranges, and I more than understand the scars left by Jim Crow era advertising that have shaped how people of color are viewed and depicted.
But even some Blacks are giving “the side eye” to this controversy: “I’m Black myself and I don’t see a problem with the ad. Nor do I see a problem with Dove products. I love Dove. People are stupid. Always finding SOMETHING to b*tch about,” says pressedapples on The Huffington Post.
This controversy is nothing more than an example of the cry-wolf syndrome which is exactly why real instances of racism are not taken seriously.
Could the ad be designed differently and maybe even better? Of course. But how about… all three models are beautiful women? Are advertisements like Dove‘s VisibleCare ad the source of self-hatred within multiple communities of color? A new documentary, Dark Girls seeks to look deep into the issue.
Documentary: Dark Girls
an exploration of color-bias
This is a preview of an upcoming documentary, Dark Girls, which explores the deep-seated biases and attitudes about skin color — particularly dark skinned women, outside of and within the Black community.
Directed by Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry, the film will be released in Fall/Winter 2011. Keep up with the film on their Facebook page at facebook.com/DarkGirlsMovie.