As a part of their Campaign for Real Beauty, Dove released this video that quickly went viral. In the video we see several women show up before a forensic sketch artist. The artist draws two portraits of each woman, one based on her description of herself and one based on stranger’s description. Later, women are shown both portraits to show them how much they underestimate their beauty. Inspiring, isn’t it?
Nice try Dove, but I’m not buying it.
Dear well-meaning, gushing internet friends that re-post this video with tag lines like “to all my beautiful friends out there” etc., slow down with the fervent praise.
Stop, think, act
Before we delve into the message, let’s examine the messenger. Let’s consider Dove – a corporation, the primary purpose of which is profit. Profit, revenue, money, dough is the bottom line here and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. In this case profit is gained by selling a line of beauty products. Dove sells beauty. Dove sells the idea of what beauty is. If suddenly everyone was accepted as beautiful or people simply stopped caring about appearances, Dove would go bankrupt. In short, Dove’s business model is based on women’s insecurities.
But Miss X, you’d say, not every company is created equal, maybe people behind Dove’s campaign genuinely want to positively influence our culture! Corporations are people, after all, maybe they are awakening to their humanity, and maybe there are cancer-curing unicorns, and English majors have an 100% employment rate. All I’m saying is that it’s unlikely a business will invest in something that will undermine their market presence. Indeed, a little research shows that Dove as well as Axe and Fair and Lovely are owned by the same company Unilever.