Don’t Let Yourself Get Fooled by Dove

I remember when I saw the previous Dove campaign, the one with the sketches, at first I thought: wow, advertising can do some good, for a change. But something nagged me, I couldn’t put my finger on it. Something didn’t feel right.

This time, being a bit more aware, I had no doubts: Dove is trying to fool us. It’s false empowerment, it’s shaming and it’s in no way making women feel better. The video went viral, because women desperately need to feel better about themselves. That’s why it’s even more harmful. (And I am not alone in this view)

This is the Dove commercial:




Dove tells us: you should feel beautiful, because beauty is a choice.

In a world, where a woman’s body is being objectified, sexualized, under constant judgement, constant pressure to look in a certain way, it is simply not true. And Dove is part of a system that makes it impossible for many girls and women to relax in their bodies, whatever they are.

To tell a woman, who constantly feels judged, who doesn’t feel she’s good enough, who has this violent, harsh voice inside her head telling her she’s revolting and (because of that) worthless, day after day, for years; to tell her that she should just simply choose differently is outright abusive. In her mind not only she doesn’t feel good with herself, but she’s not good enough to change her thinking.

We have to consider the whole context culture of body-shaming and what it does to women, the culture of valuing women based on their looks, we have to see the role that media and beauty industry play in this. By telling women it’s their “inner” problem and they are the only ones responsible, we burden them even more. If it were so easy for women to “choose” whether they feel beautiful or not, there would be no problem in the first place!

Dove tells us: there is only two possible ways you can see yourself: average or beautiful.

It’s a lie. You can be oh so much more than this. Let’s not let us get confined in shallow, meaningless categories. You can choose to be whatever you dream and nobody should tell you what should it be.

Dove tells us: Your body is where your self-worth is placed.

This notion is so deeply ingrained in our culture that we’re almost blind to it. And this is one of the roots of the problem. Girls and women are made believe that their bodies represent their worth. Not their wits, their skills, their abilities, their personalities, their struggles, their power and all the other things that make a person. And no, feeling “beautiful” is not what makes you a worthy woman.

Dove tells us: Average is something less, it’s not good to feel average.

Another source of pressure in our narcissistic culture — you have to be exceptional, otherwise, you have no worth. It’s a trap, again, because we can’t all be best. Most of us are, well, average — that’s simple statistics. If we don’t embrace that, we are doomed feel not good enough for the rest of our lives.

Dove should be telling us different things if it really wants to empower women. The trick is that it won’t, because it’s a brand making money out of women’s need to perfect their bodies. How much would this industry lose if most of us felt content with the way we look?

So, at least, don’t let yourself be fooled.