Dove Does Not Give A Shit About Whether Or Not You Feel Beautiful

22 Apr

Sometimes I feel like social media turns me into some kind of awful, gruesome caricature of a feminist. I spend waayyyy too much time jumping in on Facebook posts or tweets or blogs to explain why this specific thing, whatever it happens to be, is actually problematic. And I try not to do this, honest I do. I know that it’s annoying as fuck. I know that I come off like I’m Lisa Simpson except ten times worse and with more swears. I know that. I promise I do.

All of this is to explain why I have been so quiet and patient about Dove’s latest marketing campaign, Dove Real Beauty Sketches. I haven’t said anything about it. Nada. Zilch. Haven’t commented on anyone’s links, haven’t tweeted about it, haven’t even whispered darkly about it to myself when I’m alone at night and unlikely to offend anyone.

But then my friend Shannon wrote this brilliant piece about it, and after seeing the reactions to her post in the comments on her blog and from people on Facebook, I’ve realized that I have to say something. I’m not going to talk about how their recent campaign continues to perpetuate the idea that a woman’s most important asset is her appearance. I’m not going to tear apart their youtube video, with its beautiful sadly hopeful background music and its tear-jerking content. Other people have done that better than I ever could, and I’m not going to step on their toes.

I do want to tell you one thing, though:

Dove does not give a shit about whether or not you feel beautiful.

They don’t. At all. Full stop.

All that Dove wants is for women to buy their products. And they’ve discovered that the best way to manipulate women in the Western world is to tell them that they’re beautiful. And you know what? This is a really fucking effective advertising strategy. Part of this success is because it goes against just about every marketing rule out there. Traditional advertising wisdom says that we should tell people that they’re lacking in something in order to make them buy it. Tell women that they’ll be more attractive if they use your makeup or skin cream or expensive shampoo. As Margaret Atwood explains in her short story Hairball, advertising to women is simple:

“You bombard them with images of what they ought to be, and you make them feel grotty for being the way they are. You’re working with the gap between reality and perception. That’s why you have to hit them with something new, something they’ve never seen before, something they aren’t. Nothing sells like anxiety.”

This has been the way that advertising has worked, more or less, for at least the last sixty or so years.

And then Dove came and seemed to flip the whole thing on its head in a way that seemed to be totally new and brave and laudable. They’ve taken the formula described above and are using it backwards – for instance, they’re looking at the gap between perception and reality and saying that, in fact, the perception that you are an ugly, worthless person is wrong, so let’s bridge the gap back to reality where you are actually incredibly beautiful and worthy. Instead of bombarding women with images of what they ought to be, they’re bombarding them with images of how they feel that they already are – curvy, wrinkled, imperfect – and telling them that this is real beauty. Instead of hitting people with something new, they’re hitting them with the so-called truth about themselves, full of platitudes and love and golly-gee niceness.

And all of this has been incredibly, insanely effective. Women are now buying Dove products not because they feel that these products will improve them, but because they’re loyal to a brand that sees them as truly, uniquely beautiful.

All of which would be fine, I guess, if that was actually what Dove thought.

But Dove does not give a shit about how you feel about yourself. Dove just wants to manipulate you into buying their products.

How do I know this? Well, setting my general cynicism about large corporations aside, I know this because Dove is owned by Unilever. And while Unilever uses Dove to sell warm, fuzzy, watered-down feminism to Western women, it uses several of its other companies to do the exact opposite.

Unilever also owns Axe, which is well-known for creating advertising campaigns that are, well, the opposite of empowering to women. A typical example of their preferred style of advertising is the that one I’ve posted below, in which a young man spraying himself liberally with Axe is suddenly surrounded by a mob of thin, bikini-clad super models. These commercials are not only degrading to women (by putting forth the idea that men are only attracted one specific body type, and that for women to fail to attain that body type means to fail to be beautiful), but they’re also degrading to men (by perpetuating the stereotype that men are all sex-crazed beasts who just want to go to booty town with as many hot, sexy ladies as possible).

It is seriously such a fucking joke that Dove makes videos about how many unattainable images of beauty a young girl will be subjected to as she grows up and how this will warp her self-perception, while at the SAME FUCKING TIME Axe is creating those unattainable images of beauty.

Even worse, Unilever owns Indian brand Fair and Lovely, a skin-bleaching cream marketed especially to girls from lower-class families. This cream, which is part sunscreen, part moisturizer, and part skin-lightener, promises women with darker skin that they will be able to find better, higher-paying jobs by having fairer skin. It’s even marketed as being “empowering” to women because having lighter skin gives them more “choices” in life.

Yeah, that’s right. The same company that, in North America, tells you to own and love your body the way it is, tells Indian women that they need to be whiter in order to be successful.

Like I said, Unilever and, by extension, Dove do not give a shit about whether or not you feel beautiful. The only thing that they’re interested in doing is manipulating women into buying their products. For North American women, they do this by telling them that they are beautiful, no matter what they look like. For North American men, they do this by promising that their products will attract droves of hot babes. And for Indian women, they do this by telling them that if only they looked more like white people, they could achieve all of their dreams.

Dove described their Campaign for Real Beauty as “a global effort is intended to serve as a starting point for societal change and act as a catalyst for widening the definition and discussion of beauty.”

They’ve used the tagline, “Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does.”

Their website is full of criticisms of the beauty industry, self-esteem builders, and gushing comments from loyal Dove users.

All of this is bullshit. 

And you know what? I feel really bad saying that because I know a lot of women who have been inspired by this campaign. I know women who feel that this campaign has helped remind them that they, too are beautiful. I know so many women who really, really love this campaign. And I don’t want to tell them that they’re wrong! I just want them to know that, at the end of the day, Dove doesn’t care.

Dove doesn’t care, but I do. And lots of other people do. There are even organizations out there, organizations that are not owned by giant corporations, that care. We think you’re beautiful, and we’re not standing to make any kind of profit off of that thought. More than that, we think you’re smart, capable, funny, kind, all-around great people. We love everything about you.

And you know what? When I tell you that, I am not making a fucking cent off of it.


Here are a few videos of advertising campaigns from Dove, Axe and Fair and Lovely, in case you want to compare:

126 Responses to “Dove Does Not Give A Shit About Whether Or Not You Feel Beautiful”

  1. suzanne1953 April 23, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    Lots of people already said this!

    • bellejarblog April 23, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

      I know! But I think that the more people that add their voice to the issue, the better! I don’t think I’m doing anything new or earth-shattering here, by any means.

    • Abigail April 24, 2013 at 4:02 am #

      LOL. So everything on the Internet must be an original thought? Dang. There goes my blog. 😉 For what it’s worth, this is the first place I read about the Dove/Axe connection.

  2. leonapitej April 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    I have trouble digesting the Dove kool-aid because that’s what it is. Dove and Axe are owned by the same parent company. Women/girls, make yourself beautiful so some oversexed, dripping men can ravish you and treat you like the object you are. Hmmm. Beauty and masculinity are both more than skin deep. We need messages to both our girls *and* boys that are not connected to product. Just them.

  3. Julie April 23, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    Your post so articulately captures my sentiments about the Dove campaign…

    I think there’s a tremendous disconnect when a bottom-line-driven entity promises to tell you the “REAL” no-one-but-us-is-brave-enough-to-share truth. And I think this campaign feels more dangerous than Axe ads because it’s so very well masked as something empowering.

    We all deserve affirmations that are deeper and more authentic than an advertisement.

  4. Christine Mook April 23, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    I helped facilitate a workshop about five or six years ago, right around the time that Dove came out with the ‘Dove Evolution’ video (, dealing with the exact same issue. I even remember bringing up the Dove / Axe comparison.

    There is a small, superficial part of me that enjoys the easy feeling of ‘I am beautiful’ that comes with watching these videos. But the larger part of me, the part that knows that I’m going to look like shit if I feel like shit (because these things are undoubtedly connected), knows manipulation when it sees it. My beauty has nothing to do with the products I use (I use some of the cheapest shit out there) and has everything to do with the way I feel about myself. Dove knows this and feeds on it. These commercials don’t elicit a response because of the little Dove emblem. They elicit a response because they reach down and caress that need to *feel* beautiful that must come before the belief that *I am* beautiful.

  5. LJ April 23, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    Agree with Julie Goldberg. I was quite surprised reading your blog post mostly because it was built up to some sort of earth-shattering revelation, which the conclusion did not make me feel. I did not know that Dove was owned by the same company as Axe and Fair and Lovely, but it doesn’t fundamentally shock me.
    Perhaps I have become incorrigibly cynical due to the volume and speed of advertising these days – it is clear that a company the size of Dove advertises to increase sales. This is true of any brand and intrinsic to marketing. I do not expect the company to believe every word that comes out of their public mouth, although I am sure that there are probably a few amount of Dove employees who do agree with their own advertising. It’s a huge company, who’s to say who believes in what? And so what if it is owned by Unilever that owns Axe and Fair and Lovely? Each company has it’s own strategy, it’s own target public, it’s own style of products and image. I do not hold Dove responsible for the advertising that Axe and Fair and Lovely produce, and I find this a pretty strange way to view things. Given the size of the companies, I doubt they have much to do with each other.
    But more importantly, I feel that the advertising of a company is a loosely coded indication of the company’s perception of their target public. Axe targets horny adolescent males insecure about their sexuality who think Axe products can help them get a girlfriend. Dove targets a much wider age range of women, tired of being endlessly insecure and who wish to be validated by the society they have perhaps earlier in their lives tried so hard to conform to. I think that the advertising in itself is a form of respect to these women, because it shows how Dove perceives what attracts them, i.e. themselves, and not photo-shopped top model goddesses. Dove makes the assumption that they are self-respecting, self-loving women who would appreciate being spoken to and treated that way. Whether the individual members of the company actually find the women on the posters attractive and beautiful is a whole other matter, and for me, does not contaminate any of their advertising.
    Dove is not saying ‘you are beautiful, you don’t need to change’ through their advertising; Dove is saying ‘you are a woman who recognizes and is confident in your own beauty, and want others to love you for who you are’. This, for me, is probably one of the most positive messages that I’ve received from any beauty products advertising since 1987 (birth year).

    • Quinn May 6, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

      Nor i. I’m not shocked either, not in the least. I mean.. this is how advertising works.

      Look, here’s the thing. The video of the sketch artist is nice. It DOES make people realize they’re their own worst critic. Yes. They’re trying to sell to you. IN THE KINDEST WAY POSSIBLE.

      There is no such thing as honest advertising that appeals to your clear, simple wits unless it’s actually a USEFUL product.

      Buckleys: Tastes Awful. And it works.

      is the last campaign I can think of where the advertising team just stated the clean, simple truth about their product.

      Except not really…

      This commercial aired during a time when people were cynical as fuck and WANTED the clean, simple truth. Buckley’s capitalized on that and did very well.

      Does this mean that there is something inherently evil about consorting with the manipulative entity that is Buckley’s Mixture? I mean.. who cares that it’s not appealing to your vanity? Isn’t manipulation still manipulation?

      The unfortunate reality is that something can be manipulative and still helpful at the same time. In the same way that something can be tragic and funny at the same time.

      The world has more than two dimensions. You can still take something away from that.That old axiom “take the good and leave the rest.” is actually a very useful way of living life. Otherwise, you go crazy.

  6. Hmm April 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    thank you for this. the only addition i would make would be to question: who is this “Dove”? we take for granted the attribute of being able to give a shit. “Dove” (which you make into some sort of independently feeling agent) is obviously a conglomerate of people made up into a company where interests of profit ride out over interests of … humanitarian concern. (It’s like one long episode of Mad Men, i was thinking.) in any case, i think the best idea would be to break down such a conglomerate concept as “Dove” and question why each faction within it (the women, the men, the high paid, the secretaries, etc.) decide to support the company than to support the interests they may have as people. because they may feel like shit normally, supporting the disempowerment of women. (and now get to feel great about the opposite without thinking about why.) why does capitalist ideology rule the roost?

    but be careful- if you look into the abyss, it will look into you.

  7. Amy Lee April 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    I loved this article so much.. Thank you for sharing your honesty thought and vulgarities. It was really appreciated. If you’re ever in Boulder, I want to buy you a drink.

  8. Olivia Yaciw April 23, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    I’ve seen a lot about this campaign (I’m recovering from anorexia and it’s all over in the online recovery community) and I honestly never thought about it that deeply. The thought that it should make me want to buy Dove products is actually kind of funny. Never even crossed my mind. I’m perfectly happy with the products I already use. And nothing in this campaign has offered me some big insight or revelation, either; I already know all the basic principles these videos teach. The way you see yourself is not the way other people see you, everyone is beautiful the way they are, etc etc etc.
    But the thing is, not everyone knows this stuff, and that’s why I respect this campaign, the same way I respect religion. I’m an agnostic and really just don’t like religion, but I like what it can do for other people – like giving them hope, which is something that’s hard to come by for some people, and teaching them things like love and forgiveness and peace and all that (depending on the religion). So I don’t necessarily like Dove/Unilever, but I like what they’re teaching people, even if all they care about is making money. It’s a good message, no matter who it’s coming from, and in my opinion what people learn from the campaign is more important than the motives of the company behind it. Just my two cents. I do like the article, by the way. It’s very well-written and thought-provoking.

    • Quinn May 6, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

      This person makes the point I was trying to make above.

      Look at nature. There are toxic pools of sludge in the sahara desert that are absolutely murderous. They are polluted by natural sources and contain extraordinarily high levels of salt. The only animals who can go anywhere near them and take advantage of this water source are brine files.

      Except not really….

      Every year flocks of small migrating birds have to make the trek across the sahara. A lot of them die. it’s hot. There’s no water. The place sucks.

      Then suddenly flock leader sees this oasis that looks like clean, fresh water. And down they go to their doom.

      Except again… not really.

      Some birds are dumb. And they go face first into the brine, lap up as much as they can swallow and, of course, die. But not all birds are dumb. SOme of them are all like “Hey.. check out those bloated brine flies. THEY’RE full of water. DESALINATED water. If we only eat the flies, we’ll get all the water we need”

      So the smart birds don’t get pulled into the brine. They eat the flies and they make it across the sahara. (hopefully.. )

      I see ad campaigns like this to be very similar. There is no situation that has 100% survival rate. The smart, the resourceful and the discerning tend to do well. Using all the resources available to them. In any place no matter how toxic.

  9. Jane Doe April 23, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    First of all, I absolutely value your opinion and applaud you for creating a conversation about company vs customer. I believe that everyone should shop more with eyes wide open; what companies practices are an how they try to represent themselves to the public. From an advertising viewpoint, that Dove’s campaign strategy does take a much different standpoint than other beauty products. It creates a totally new conversation on why people may choose to purchase a product over another. What I disagree with though is projecting that opinion on a product for a market that’s not of our own culture. After living in another country for a significant amount of time, you come to realize that beauty in one country can be completely contrary to the beauty of another. And unfortunately, in a country like India with over a billion people, competition is brutal. The sad reality is that if there are two people with the same qualifications for a job, the more attractive person will get the job. I just think it’s unfair to say that their preference of beauty is demoralizing because it seems demoralizing by a certain group of people. That is all. Thank you.

    • Shelley May 26, 2016 at 8:15 am #

      What I find interesting is how in touch with their target demographic they seem to be. It is like the person who feels unloved and lonely. All anyone will have to do is show that person some attention and he/she will cling to them. With the lineup of products, you have at least 2 mentioned that make people feel bad about themselves, bringing them to a low. Then Dove sweeps in, tells them what they want to hear, and she becomes a customer.

      From an advertising standpoint, this is brilliant. I agree with you completely that this company is in business to make money. I like that they are promoting a positive body image as a way to reach their target audience. I think that if more advertising used this approach, women might actually begin to see themselves as beautiful. Even more important, women might actually move away from physical beauty as a measuring stick and begin to value each other for the things that really matter.

  10. Tia B (@TiasethB) April 23, 2013 at 11:10 pm #

    I’m so glad I stumbled in here not too long ago from where? I don’t remember, but I do enjoy reading your writing.

    Benevolent sexism is quite sneaky and we’re all better off each and every time it gets identified and challenged.

  11. The Real Cie April 24, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines.

  12. May April 24, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    The Fair and Lovely advert is horrifying. I knew that whitening cream existed, but I suppose I thought it occupied the same advertising space as those “Secrets your doctor doesn’t want you to know about weightloss!” and “Three top ways to a flatter stomach” ads – the murky shadows where few people put their trust. It was made even worse by the fact that the company she had to be whiter to work for was British Airways.

    • AmazingSusan April 24, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

      Don’t blame Dove for dark-skinned Indian women for wanting whiter skin. Blame culture and the individuals within it. In many ways, advertising is just a mirror of what we as consumers want…

      • K April 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

        THIS!!! It’s like we expect advertising agencies to be somehow above reproach and when they cater to the things society actually responds to we chastise them but their job is to sell their client’s products.

      • Quinn May 6, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

        yes very much. I worked in advertising when i first graduated. The whole idea is to identify the LCD. Remember the LCD from math? Sorry to say but that’s the lowest common denominator. Or, in the case of advertising, it’s sort of a nexus on a graph. They need three things in common to be able to tell advertisers what to do:

        1. In a demographic that spends a lot.
        2. In a demographic that is easily influenced
        3. In a demographic that represents a large group.

        Then all you have to do is find out what that large group wants out of life. And offer it to them. For a price of course.

        Advertising is not all bad. Much of it is informative and useful. Just not all of it.

    • TeriGill April 24, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

      I was working in India for a few months, and laughingly kidded the young women on my team about skin lightening products. I was telling them about the tanning products marketed in North America, and the very real truth that products are sold to make you what you are not….you’d have a hard time selling skin bronzing products in Mumbai, and most would look at you weird if you tried to sell skin whitening products in Stockholm. We are all victims of the marketing sharks……beware and carry a shark stick!

      • AmazingSusan April 25, 2013 at 3:02 am #

        Exactly… our tanning products are the same, on the other end of the colour spectrum 🙂

      • JVO April 25, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

        A very good point, TeriGill! What about tanning lotion, which is always always advertised as something that will make us more confident, more beautiful? Are we to chastise any company who seeks to sell us products that make us look different than we are, that sell us products which might altar our appearance? Then we have to chastise every company in America, and across the world. This is something that happens – always, and will happen – always.

        And so what if Dove wants to make a profit! Dove is a company. A company. In order to sustain themselves, they have to make a profit. And so what if they have found that the best way to do that is by telling people they’re beautiful – I’d rather buy products from a company like that than any other! And whether they are owned by a company who sells “degrading” products or not is irrelevant – those views are clearly not reflected in Dove’s campaign. And furthermore, SO WHAT if Unilever chooses to market to certain people by encouraging them to change their appearance and to others by encouraging inner beauty — they are, again, a corporation, whose objective is to turn a profit. That’s just the nature of the beast. You have to recognize this is the consumer world we live in – there are products, and those products are made by companies, and those companies want to make money so they can stay companies. Period. Any marketing campaign or strategy is just a tactic to do so. So why not buy from a company who uplifts?

        Any sort of positivity (such as this Dove campaign) in the cosmetic world is instantly slashed, and I’m sick of it. I cant reiterate enough – Dove is a corporation whose objective is to make a profit. They have done so by telling women they are beautiful. What on earth would make you want to tear that message apart?

      • JVO April 25, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

        And one last point – any woman confident enough in her own skin wouldn’t be offended by this sort of thing. Self-assuredness is immunity from enemy. No company, and no marketing campaign/tactic, should be able to make you feel anything about yourself.

        Dove owes me nothing – the world owes me nothing. So any positivity should be celebrated and embraced as an effort on someone else’s part to do an act of kindness. (I’m sure Dove could sell products just as efficiently by saying we’d all be more beautiful if only we used Dove. But they choose to sell to us by saying we’re beautiful. Ok by me!)

  13. Katie April 24, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    Re-blogged @ THANK YOU for writing this!!!!!! How many times do we have to re-read “The Beauty Myth” and “Killing Us Softly”? But, I’m done sighing and whatever vestiges of faith I had in Corporate bullshit are done.
    Mahalo. Ciao.

  14. sassysicilian April 24, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    Reblogged this on Sass, Stilettos & Soul and commented:
    Here is a very interesting, and quite opposite take, on the new Dove Beauty Campaign that I blogged about last week. The author of this piece makes some valid and disturbing points about corporate marketing and how we as women fall victim to them all too often. That being said, I still like the ‘feel good’ feeling the video left me with and the message it conveys, that we ARE all beautiful in our own way and we need to embrace it. It’s sad that Dove is so hypocritical though.

  15. Chena Bellejar April 24, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    You’re right, of course. HOWEVER, I see this as an attempt to move in the right direction. Like training a dog, intermediate (imperfect) attempts toward the desired result need to be rewarded. It’a a prerequisite to the next improvement.

  16. E April 24, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

    This article should have been about axe. Should we not be commending an advertising campaign for telling women they are beautiful the way they are rather than condemning them for not believing in it enough? Should we not be proud that we women have finally come to terms with ourselves an our bodies enough to see through sexualized advertising campaigns and only be duped by those that offer us idialized empowerment? What a surprise that a capitalist marketing strategy is not totally moral nor does it believe in what it promotes. I think this criticism is reactionary and ignores the actual issues. A frank discussion on how women feel about their bodies and the way the media portrays them would be much more appropriate.

    • Quinn May 6, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

      Yeah. Now all they have to do is start representing women of all different colours and we’re off and running…

      Seriously there was, what, ONE black lady in that commercial? For all of two seconds.

  17. 1pointperspective April 25, 2013 at 12:18 am #

    Brilliant writing. The manipulation by Madison Avenue is accepted by our society, and we’re suckers for it. It’s okay for Axe to imply that women will throw themselves at guys who spray themselves with it, but when a radical cleric promises an impressionable young knucklehead 50 virgins, everyone gets themselves in a lather about it.

  18. Sneha April 25, 2013 at 5:40 am #

    Well, what Dove is doing is following Marketing strategy 101 – whatever works!
    And it sure looks like its working! For the other products under the Unilver brand and their adverts, 2 words – its working!

    I am not a lover of Dove or any other products of Unilever and I have no stakes here, but I dont see why there is a reason to be so agitated about it. Maybe your reaction stems out of the fact that it IS working and is a success indicator for the folks at Unilver!

    Infact, perhaps after reading this post I am starting to question the stakes that perhaps might have in trash talking here.. just a thought

    • bellejarblog April 25, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

      What, you think I wrote this because I work for a competing company…?

      The thing that bothers me about is that it’s manipulative. And it continues to reinforce the idea that beauty is incredibly important for women. I also think it’s hypocritical to offer one message with one of your brands, and then send the opposite message with another. It just rubs me the wrong way, but to each their own!

      • Quinn May 6, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

        nobody likes to feel ugly. Beauty IS important. For men or women. Or else we wouldn’t INSTINCTIVELY be drawn to it.

        It’s a damn sight better than telling women what real beauty IS. This campaign is manipulative. Sure. What campaign isn’t? But at least it’s saying “you’re hotter than you think.” which is far more refreshing than the “you’re uglier than you fear” mantra that is pretty much par for the course out there.

  19. Crunch April 25, 2013 at 8:53 am #

    Have you seen this? It’s another interesting piece.

  20. Jan April 26, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    I started to read your article – but its really something we all know, its advertising strategy. I for one have never been sucked in by Dove or any other ads that pretend to be interested in “me”. Besides your foul language makes you come across as really uneducated so I lost interest pretty quickly in anything you had to say.

    • Quinn May 6, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

      I don’t see what throwing the occasional ‘fuck’ into a blog has to do with this person’s ability to express herself. If you’re so hard to influence, I’d be interested in discussing exactly why you have such a weird phobia of the odd cuss word.

  21. Diana Hernandez April 28, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

    The Dove video gave me chills…NOT. That was so cheesy, I thought about putting some of it on my sandwich. Barf.

  22. Piper George April 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Great article
    BTW, I nominated you for an award, I hope you don’t mind.

  23. east1956 May 2, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    Here in UK we don’t have Axe but the same product called Lynx. The adverts, targeting men, are actually a joke. The young men who buy the stuff know that no amount of the product liberally or sparingly applied will result in hordes of women chasing after them. The use of idealised female shapes merely serves to emphasise that. But the stuff is designed to cover up young male body smells (i.e. shower in a can) and enable the males to address the complaint that these young men smell.

    As the the white / pale skin issue, it reflects what were once the values of all societies. Pale people were wealthy and powerful, because peasants that worked in the fields outside were darker. Prior to the 1920’s and the sudden interest in sunbathing and bikinis, European women sought to be pale as it indicated higher social status and inherently greater wealth and life choices. Having pale skin in India indicates that you come from a more cultured class, and the doors open for you exactly as they do for the elites in Canada and USA and everywhere else. Unilever merely responds to that desire by a producing a product that meets a need. Exactly in the same way it sells tanning lotions to westerners who since the 20’s think that a glowing tan is indicative of health & wealth. (The poor factory workers in the 20’s rarely got to see the sun, never had but a few days holiday and couldn’t afford to holiday in the South of France.)

  24. david May 12, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    how much time does she spend putting on makeup and doing her hair everyday?
    only to spend more time taking it off and undoing it at night?

    How much money does she spend buying those products?
    How much time did she work to earn the money that money?

    How many lakes, rivers and streams were polluted when she washed those products down the drain?
    How many of the toxins and chemicals from those products had already been absorbed through her skin, into her bloodstream?

    How many animals were tested on, tortured and killed so those products could be made and sold?

    maybe she is just tired of being objectified by the media and fashion industry who use her feelings of inadequacy and self consciousness to sell her all those products?
    Or peer and societal pressures to wear them?

    All-Mighty God, her ‘heavenly father’, loves her and created/designed a way to protect her from all the things mentioned above, and empower her, while still giving her a way to express her inner sense of fashion and beauty and style.

    Hijab tutorial

    Niqab tutorial

  25. david May 12, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    how much time does she spend putting on makeup and doing her hair everyday?
    only to spend more time taking it off and undoing it at night?

    How much money does she spend buying those products?
    How much time did she work to earn that money?

    How many lakes, rivers and streams were polluted when she washed those products down the drain?
    How many of the toxins and chemicals from those products had already been absorbed through her skin, into her bloodstream?

    How many animals were tested on, tortured and killed so those products could be made and sold?

    maybe she is just tired of being objectified by the media and fashion industry who use her feelings of inadequacy and self consciousness to sell her all those products?
    Tired of; being leered at and objectified by men, peer and societal pressures to wear them, ‘competing’ with other women?

    All-Mighty God, her ‘heavenly father’, loves her and created/designed a way to empower her, a way to protect her from all the things mentioned above, while still giving her a way to express her inner sense of fashion and beauty and style.

    Hijab tutorial

    Niqab tutorial

  26. zen March 18, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

    I appreciate your stance in calling out the fact that Dove only cares about making money. I read your well-reasoned argument pointing out Unilever’s two-faced approach to marketing Axe v. Dove v. Fair and Lovely.

    However, so what?

    Nearly all business entities exist to make money. Some use their income for good while others use it for profit to shareholders. So, to use financial gain as a motive to not support a company is spurious.

    In this case, we are taking about soap. A product for cleansing or bodies. A product I would venture to guess is used by the vast majority of your readers. Cleanliness prevents the spread of disease. Soap is a fairly basic need. If I do not plan to make my own soap, I must purchase it somewhere. If I must purchase it I would prefer to use a product whose marketing makes me feel good as I am rather than one that makes me feel inferior.

    And by the way, as a man, I use Dove. I am not atracted to the message of Axe. Neither do I like the potent smells of their products. Dove feels good and leaves me feeling clean, not musky.

  27. imgur February 11, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

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