While the world including the beauty industry is being led to respect and celebrate diverse beauty by brilliant brands and artists like Fenty Beauty by Rihanna and Kay Customz by Kay Black who designs handmade Vitiligo dolls to eliminate physical judgements, Dove as a global brand, took a step back this weekend.
The brand posted an online advertising campaign featuring both coloured and white women. It showed a black woman removing her top to reveal a white brunette underneath supposedly after using Dove body wash. Soon after, every social media platform was filled with critics accusing the brand of racism.
The campaign was immediately taken off after the received response but an American make-up artist Naomi Blake who goes by the name Naythemua, shared it.
“So I’m scrolling through Facebook and this is the #dove ad that comes up … ok so what am I looking at,” she captioned it. Below the post, she was questioned if people would be offended if a white woman had turned into a black woman? And her response is the sad reality as she said, “Nope, we wouldn’t and that’s the whole point. What does America tell black people? That we are judged by the color of our skin and that includes what is considered beautiful in this country.” She added, “The tone deafness in these companies makes no sense,” and that the marketing team of Dove should have known better.
Followed by a further statement, “As a part of a campaign for Dove body wash, a three-second video clip was posted to the US Facebook page. This did not represent the diversity of real beauty which is something Dove is passionate about and is core to our beliefs, and it should not have happened. We have removed the post and have not published any other related content. We apologise deeply and sincerely for the offence that it has caused.”
Racism is not just a national issue, it’s global. It, unfortunately, affects every country on some or the other level. Although the damage was already done as out of nearly 7000 comments on the apology tweets, one could hardly find a positive one. Call for boycott of Dove products has already been suggested by many users in the comments section.
Out of many who responded to Dove’s statement, the most prominent ones were of Ava DuVernay, the director of the film Selma who posted…
And Munroe Bergdorf, the trans model who was recently at the center of racism debate herself as she was announced by L’Oréal as the face of True Match campaign that marries make-up to social justice and then, she was sacked unceremoniously.
Well, with this advert Dove tried to clear the air by saying, “All three women are intended to demonstrate the ‘after’ product benefit. We do not condone any activity or imagery that intentionally insults any audience,” but on this matter, American broadcaster Keith Boykin’s tweet seems to be on point.
This racist advert is exactly how Unilever tried to sell ‘Pears’ in Victorian era as well. But our response is certainly more powerful today and we surely hope to witness the change beyond social media, we hope to see the change in mentality.