dove and the art of manipulation

This morning’s unscheduled transit scrimmage derailed me from posting about the other topics I had saved up for wording: my guilty secret, and the main reason I started this morning out wearing my (purely metaphysical) ranty pants. Since I’m already made of outrage, I’ll just carry on:

The internet was abuzz yesterday with the release of Dove’s new “Everyone is Beautiful” campaign, featuring a sketch artist tasked with drawing unseen (to him) women as they describe themselves, and again as described by other people. The women then got to see the two images, and realized they are far more critical of their appearance than others are – people see you differently than you see yourself and we should all celebrate our uniqueness and beauty and butterfly rainbow kittens for us all.

Nice sentiment. Too bad it’s a calculated load of shit.

When I watched the ad – with an admittedly already-critical eye – I couldn’t help but notice several things:

  • Hey, look at all those conventionally attractive people!
  • Hey, look at all those conventionally attractive white people!
  • “I have a round face” was stated as a negative
  • “She had a nice thin <whatever>” was a compliment .. twice
  • That sad, plinky music and grey lighting is doing a lot to set the mood – I can’t help but wonder how this would feel with a polka or 70’s porn music

Turns out I’m far from the only one having these thoughts: something fishy is afoot in their pretty, pretty paradise. It’s a nice idea, I guess, and sketch artists are crazy awesome, but the execution is pretty damn shallow. Also, everything else that’s wrong with the situation.

I posted this on Facebook this morning, and I’m just copying it here because I’m lazy and also angry about PAX tickets (I can’t get any):

As noble as the “we’re all beautiful!” campaign is, we have to keep several things in mind:

  1. We’re being purposefully manipulated by a marketing team to sell PRODUCTS. Tell me, do you really spend a lot of time worrying how your armpit skin looks? Dove sells a product that’ll “fix” it, along with a series of commercials designed to make you think people are judging you on the appearance of your pits.
  2. In eastern countries, where brown skin is the norm, Dove sells “Whitening Cream” because “white skin is beautiful”. There is so much fucking wrong with this that I can’t even.
  3. The parent company that sells Dove also sells Axe. That’s right: one team makes millions telling you you’re all beautiful; another makes millions selling you as objects who exist solely to arouse odiferous men.

So yeah, as much as I too could use the occasional reminder that I’m not as ugly as I think I am, I don’t buy it when it comes from Dove.

Even if Dove is trying to uplift everyone’s self-esteem, even if it works and no one ever feels bad about themselves again, even if just one girl realizes she is beautiful no matter what they say (words can’t bring her down), you HAVE to remember that Dove is a manufacturer of products, owned by a company that exists to SELL THINGS. At the end of the day, their one job isn’t to make us feel good – it’s to profit. Profit off your fears and insecurities. Profit off telling us we’re all beautiful with one hand, while telling women with dark skin to lighten it in another, and using women as sex dolls to sell toxic sprays in a third (they have many arms).

Do you really want your feels to be manipulated by a company that thinks your armpit skin could use some work?

I don’t.

Get bent, Unilever.

3 thoughts on “dove and the art of manipulation

  1. I use Axe, because it was not only on sale. but my wife chose the scent, which is like chocolate. I might die of skin cancer, but I’ll smell awesome.

  2. Pingback: mmxiii in review | delicious juice dot com: unapologetically inappropriate

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