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When you’re in need of a Dove vox pop

May 5, 2013

In my last post I described the new Dove advert, both the one that aired in the UK, as well as the one on US TV, in a disparaging manner. My opinions on the US advert weren’t revolutionary or original, because as I’d mentioned previously, I had already read a post which had the same gist.

However, I wasn’t so sure of my opinions on the UK advert. Firstly, I couldn’t track down the video or any reference to it at all on the huge chasm that is the internet, so was half wondering whether it was actually a one-off advert and no one would have a clue what I was talking about, and secondly, I didn’t get many likes or comments on the post so lacked the validation that comes with online appreciation; although people told me in person they liked it – thanks!

Overall, I had gone from feeling very forthright with my opinions, and glad to be posting about something I truly cared about, to feeling I may have missed the spot a bit.

That was, until I was perusing my favourite online celebrity news site, and came across an article which mentioned the advert. Hooray – I’m not the only person to have seen it – however, the article was lamenting the advert’s greatness. Humph. But, being the perfectionist I am, I was more concerned with tracking down the video of the advert that I simply couldn’t find before so as to add a reference point for any readers.

After a quick Google search, I located the video (which is now inserted into my post), as well as an article from a real newspaper, not just written by a tabloid columnist, but a real intelligent writer…and the writer agreed with me! Albeit, they articulated their opinions much more clearly than mine.

It was probably one of the first times when I really needed some kind of reassurance in what I had written; as before when I’ve written posts on subjects that have divided opinion, there have always been those other opinions to side with, but I was writing fresh with this post and was relying on conviction in my own beliefs. Which in a weird way took me back to the Dove advert. In both the UK and US adverts, ultimately, that’s what the women are gaining – reassurance.

So although I don’t particularly like the adverts, and can’t empathise with viewers who have cried at the US advert (millions of people apparently, really?! really?!), I do understand how important reassurance can be. Among the most confident characters throughout the history of time, I can’t imagine there isn’t one person who at one time or another hasn’t suffered even an inch of self-doubt.

My problem with the Dove advert is the implication that all women, or indeed only women, suffer self-doubt about their appearance. I believe there are some women who truly give little thought to their appearance, those who are comfortable in the body they’ve acquired and those who think they’re fabulous from head to toe.

Giving reassurance to those with less confidence is an admiral thing to do, but isn’t anyone else tired of being told our appearance should be the main source of our woe? Do Dove really want to make women feel more beautiful, or is it a case of making sure that we’re continually worried about our appearance so that we continue buying their products?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2013 2:24 am

    I think because there were so many angles people could’ve approached the Dove ad, it may have just hindered their desire for a conversation about it simply because it was a little overwhelming as to where to start. At least I felt that way and so refrained from rambling on about it. I might just be naive or perhaps buying into the Dove ad, but I don’t necessarily think that there’s an implication that all women doubt their appearance. A part of me felt that a lot of people overreacted to something that, like it or not, we as a society focus a lot on. I agree with you that there are plenty of women who couldn’t care less about what they look like and are confident in themselves but the thing is, there are many more masses of women who buy into marketing every day and are obsessed about appearance. I think the Dove ad was just a way of showing something that fit our society’s culture while trying to take on a different perspective. There’s still a lot to be said about what it’s saying to women but if millions of women are crying over it, I think it shows that it at least touched a nerve and made people start thinking. And if people can start thinking, that’s when we can do more to try and change people’s mindsets about such ingrained concepts/standards of appearance and beauty.

    • May 6, 2013 5:32 pm

      Thanks for the comment! That’s really interesting – I’m not really sure of the angles you mean, I guess my main annoyance was just with how lame I felt the advert was, there probably are deeper issues. I’m sure you wouldn’t have rambled, you’re normally very coherent 🙂
      At least with the UK advert, I felt there was the implication that all women suffer self-doubt because it honed in on the fact that the women they interviewed took so long to answer what part of their body they liked the most – there wasn’t one women they interviewed who could just identify a body part straight away.
      Yes, I agree people are obsessed about their appearance, but there are a lot of people who are happy with that appearance, in the US advert they made the women seem like victims, I don’t think it sends out a good message to younger audiences that their main concern should be their appearance. I agree the US advert must have touched a nerve, but I just didn’t feel it was very emotive, ads that show kids dying of hunger or the ad that shows how different a little boy’s life is because he was taken into foster care make me absolutely bawl – I just can’t cry over healthy women thinking they look slightly different to what they actually look like.

  2. June 19, 2013 5:32 am

    Erin, you bring up some awesome points and I kind of feel the same way. Just for the record, I definitely didn’t cry! Lolz. But I always keep in mind the fact that Dove does animal testing. Yuck! I think they should spend less time boosting women’s self esteem, and more time finding better ways to test their products!

    • June 19, 2013 8:41 am

      Thank you! Haha I cry at loads of things – especially adverts – but I just don’t get emotional at this one. Ah no way – I didn’t know that about the animal testing – that’s awful – as if people can still get away with doing things like that!

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