• Post category:Marketing

Dove Real Beauty Sketches


I originally set out to write a post about companies that do a really bad job marketing to women. I wanted to compile a list of companies whose marketing fails are so bad that women would perhaps reconsider supporting their brand.

I had in mind to create a list of marketing fails like this one:

the perfect beer for whatever happens
In 2015, Bud Light was accused of promoting rape culture.

But then, I came across an article called 10 Worst Ways Companies Have Used Feminism to Sell Women Products. I read the article. And while I could totally agree with most examples, there were others that confused me. In fact, one of them I even chose for a blog post called The 7 Best Advertising Campaigns That Inspire and Empower Women. I am referring of course to the Dove Real Beauty Sketches  campaign.

And now my question is this one.

Does the Dove Real Beauty Sketch make us more aware and inspire us to be less critical of ourselves, or does it make us feel more insecure about our insecurities?

The author of the article writes:

The video, intended to shock us all to see women being so hard on themselves, was instead criticized for its omission of the origin of those insecurities. Women are not born thinking they are fat/ugly/unlovable/unworthy, they are taught to feel that way by the beauty industry, an empire on which Unilever comfortably sits.

While I agree that women are not in fact born thinking “they are fat/ugly/unlovable/unworthy,” I don’t believe that it’s the beauty industry that taught us to feel this way. There’s no question that the beauty industry benefits from our insecurities, but which came first, our insecurities or the beauty industry?

Were women more confident before there was a beauty industry, or was a beauty industry always around, in one form or another, because our insecurities are fostered by society?

The beauty industry did not create our insecurities, nor can or should we blame it for cashing in on something we women so desperately want. Blaming the beauty industry for our insecurities only absolves us, in our own minds, and prevents us from driving change.

The Dove Real Beauty Sketch commercial brings to light the way we view ourselves. It challenges us and compels us to think differently about ourselves; to know and understand that we are in fact more beautiful than we think. And that is why it is an inspirational and empowering advertising campaign.  

What do you think? Is the Dove Real Beauty Sketch a bad use of feminism or is it a campaign that inspires women to think differently, more positively about themselves?