Critique of the new Dove commercial

Dove Commercial

Dear Dove,

This commercial sucks.

I know you think you’re all cool and whatever because you’re supposed to be standing up for girls, but you’ve missed the boat here by a wide margin. In fact, rather than supporting girls’ movement towards “Real Beauty,” you’ve gone in the exact opposite direction.

And what makes this so surprising and somewhat shameful (for you, that is), is that you’ve gone to some lengths to inform people – like me – of this crappy commercial. Two weeks ago I got an e-mail from someone in your organization that said this: “As a key partner in our efforts to widen society’s stereotypical view of beauty, we wanted you to be the first to learn of the new self-esteem building programming we plan to roll out later this year…Last week, a new Dove ad, titled “Under Pressure,” will help kick off the next phase of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.” So apparently you think this is actually a good commercial! You’re proud of it! It’s not just something to mindlessly fill the airwaves with, but something you hope will…what, go viral?

So because I never want it to be said that I mindlessly slam something without a critical analysis, I’m going to take the time to say why this commercial shouldn’t be connected with anything related to improving girls’ self esteem:

1. Common, the redhead is stereotypically beautiful. Sure, she’s not professionally made-up in the same way that the blonde is, but she’s skinny, she’s got great hair and clear skin. Give me a break!

2. The phrase “But she’s just as beautiful…” is degrading and feeds directly into the self-image problem that girls have. If Dove had left out the words “But” and “just as” they might have had a decent sentence: “She is beautiful.”

3. I’m confused about what this commercial is supposed to be selling. Because what on earth does “Cream Oil Body Wash” have to do with anything else in this video? Does the redhead use it or the blonde? Can anyone even explain this to me??

Now, one small kudos – I like the lesbians. True, they’re an outrageously stereotypical, male-oriented image of lesbians, but nevertheless. It’s good to see female couples in mass media.

So, to sum it up, Dove, you’ve missed the ballpark here. You need to either suck it up and acknowledge that you’re just another company looking to sell body products, or you need to actually walk your talk. Make a decision. Because right now your hypocrisy is just pissing me off.

Dr. Karen

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.

1 Comment

  1. I missed the lesbians! Was that young person in the black coat a female??? I wouldn’t have thought so, and went back and looked and looked again. I think that person is fairly androgenous. Did Dove tell you that was a lesbian couple?

    The Cream Oil Body Wash is for both the blonde and the redhead. Presumably women/girls watching this video will relate to one of them; its for whichever one they relate to.

    Right on to all your other concerns.

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