Dove Once Again Makes Women Feel Self Conscious To Prove A Point About Being Self Conscious

by Maria Guido

Dove revealed a new marketing campaign, and it follows the same successful formula of their last few campaigns: put women in awkward situations that make them feel self-conscious, succeed in making them feel self-conscious, passive-aggressively chide them for being self-conscious, tape the whole thing.

I may be the only person on the planet who doesn’t love Dove’s new #ChooseBeautiful campaign. Sorry, putting women’s insecurities under a public microscope for a campaign to sell beauty products is empty and transparent. And it doesn’t help women at all.

The campaign “experiment” involved placing huge signs over two side-by-side entrances to a building. Over one of the entrances, the sign read “AVERAGE.” Over the other, the sign read “BEAUTIFUL.” After the signs were in place, a hidden camera taped different women’s reactions to choosing which door to walk through.

One woman asks, “Am I choosing because what’s constantly bombarded at me? What I’m being told that I should accept? Or am I choosing because that’s what I really believe?” I think we can all agree the answer to the question is the former. We ARE constantly being bombarded with imagery that makes us wonder whether we “measure up.” Not only are we constantly bombarded with unrealistic photoshopped images of perfection and constantly judged by the way we look rather than the content of our characters and brains — we’re then also supposed to pass some advertising executive’s test, proving that we are actually unaffected by all this and able to seamlessly rise above it and comfortably label ourselves as “beautiful?”

Can someone please explain to me how this commercial is empowering? One woman is made so uncomfortable by the test, she chooses to simply walk away from the building. This could be the DMV for all we know. It could be a passport office. She could be leaving the country tomorrow and just saying “fuck it – I’m not even going anymore because I’m so disturbed by this weird social experiment. Fuck my life.”

No, Dove. NO.

Yes, I’m crying after watching it just like you. My heart isn’t made of stone. But I’m crying because of the constant judgment, the constant microscope, the constant need that we have to pretend that we are unaffected by it all.

The ad ends with this: “Beautiful is a great word. So why not see what is on the other side of that.” I know a few other great words: strong, smart, compassionate. I bet if those were labels over the door, the women wouldn’t have hesitated.

Dove hits the mark with their campaigns that included all types of races and body shapes to show that beauty is everywhere. Keep doing that, Dove. Stop using female insecurities – that are in part the responsibility of advertising itself – to advertise shit.

We’re not mice running through a maze. We’re human beings.