Dove suggests women cannot feel beautiful on their own


Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty,” which advocates for women’s empowerment, is yet again facing widespread criticism after previously being under fire for existing under the company Unilever, which also spawned Axe products’ sexist commercials.

A recent advertisement from the campaign features women relaying their insecurities to a psychologist and participating in a trial in which they wear a RB-X “beauty patch” to enhance their self-confidence. After the two-week trial, the women claimed to notice an improvement in behavior and self-perception and the ad comes to an emotional close as the women discover the patch did not actually contain any ingredients.

Though the purpose of this ad – that women do not require a supplement or exterior force to realize their beauty – means well, Dove’s way of communicating it remains a contradiction by implementing another “beauty product” to make its point and by suggesting that women need a push in making peace with their insecurities.

While it is important for companies to comment on this problem when countless others will sell ways to “rectify” insecurities, Dove’s ad suggests the participating women would not have had the exhilaration of realizing a personal sense of self-love without using the patch – even if their satisfaction resulted from knowing it was a changed mindset and not the effects of
the product.

Despite being a placebo effect, the Dove ad displays how the benign patch could have been just another product on the market promising to make women feel better about themselves. The commercial aspect of the beauty patch was not absent, since when asked if they would be interested in buying the product, one participant said she would and another said she wants other people to experience the change she did.  

However, an experiment trying to prove that women can feel confident on their own is not necessary in the first place. The ad shows Dove’s preferred response to the patch, but it does so by suggesting that it was only possible if the women believed an external product was responsible for it.

Although one woman described the experience as “empowering,” it would be more inspirational for a woman to have the same experience, but accepting the whole way through that her confidence was gained by her own will. 

If Dove wishes to make its campaign effective and make a powerful statement, it should focus on how women are capable of loving themselves from the beginning and not because of the effect of another influence.

Isabelle Cavazos is a sophomore majoring in English.