Despite showing how some women are too critical of their bodies and that a little positivity goes a long way, the recent Dove ad for its “Campaign for Real Beauty” featuring women wearing a RB-X “beauty patch” has seen major criticism.
The Dove commercial depicts women entering a two-week trial for the patch, which is meant to increase confidence in women who have issues with their bodies. As the trial concluded, the women reported feeling more confident and outgoing. When the patch was revealed to have no ingredients, the women were shocked the difference they experienced was brought on by their own mentalities.
The main criticism of the ad is the depiction of women being gullible. However, given the manner in which the trial was conducted, it is harsh to consider them so only because they did not doubt Dove or because they experienced a placebo effect.
The surprise by the women should not be viewed as manipulation. Rather, it reveals how much of a role self-perception has in feeling beautiful.
On Twitter, women responded with tweets calling the ad “degrading to intelligent women” and one woman said it was “Nice, but I would’ve felt a little dumb.” These tweets and others seem too fixated on how the reveal surprised the women – not how the women were happy to see their change in confidence came from within and not through a patch.
If the RB-X patch were a legitimate product, then outrage would be understandable because Dove would really think women need help to feel beautiful. With that said, it becomes clear how the patch being revealed as a placebo is positive because it shows that women can feel beautiful without resorting to products or drugs.
Instead of seeing the ad as Dove duping the women, the ad should generate a common concern of how some women will try anything to feel beautiful – even a confidence-building version of a nicotine patch.
The goal of the ad came through when one woman in the video confessed she wanted it to be about herself and not the patch, proving that she is the beholder of her beauty. People should walk away from the ad with confidence that can be built without an outside influence and that a positive outlook, more so than any beauty product, can go a long way in creating a better self.
Adam Mathieu is a sophomore majoring in studio art.