Over the past week Dove has gotten a lot of press over their new campaign, “New Beauty Sketches.” Even we posted about it last week. It portrays how off base women’s perceptions of their own beauty really are. A good message I would argue.
And you know when you’ve gotten some traction with an idea when the spoofs emerge. And they are hilarious!
Now, people are talking about it for another reason.
They’re criticizing it (see latest AdWeek article on the topic).
Puhleeeze. Can’t we just appreciate a good message when we see it?
The criticism goes something like this:
1. It’s too white and the women are “traditionally” attractive (what does traditionally attractive mean anyway?)
2. It seems to define beauty as being thin and young.(I think some people would see a few of these models as “middle-aged”)
3. Positions beauty as the yardstick by which women define themselves. (oh come on, beauty matters to women. Oh, yeah, and Dove makes beauty products. It would be pretty ridiculous to talk about computing or household appliances, right?!)
4. It shows women as their own enemies rather than victims of a sexist society. (Maybe the lens is on how women hurt themselves vs how society plays a role, I get that. Buuuuutttt, we negotiate our way through cultural norms and expectations. We don’t follow everything. We can’t blame everything on the culture surrounding us. So, yes, women are their own worst enemies some times.)
5. It is hypocritical because it comes from Unilever, which also makes Axe, Slim-Fast and more. (Yeah, heard that over the years. This is tough. I don’t mind Slim Fast because the brand is trying to help people get healthy (not anorexic). But Axe does portray young women in a sexist light. On the other hand, it is so clear from the Axe ads that women have the upper hand with boys — hence all the fantasies! So,maybe we can argue that women are actually recognized as a pretty powerful bunch — way too powerful for the average guy to attract.)
Finally, let’s give Dove a break. They can’t possibly create a video to include every person and perspective out there. Otherwise we ADD-prone people wouldn’t bother to watch it!
So let’s just sit back, relax, and applaud Dove for their great efforts.