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We Don’t Need Your Patches, Dove

The only thing I could think of as I watched Dove’s latest video is that these women have a weak will to live. Why else would they allow a cosmetics company to place a medicinal patch on their arm without knowing what was “seeping” into their body? Seriously, who are these women (besides actresses) who would allow a random stranger to place something on her body that is supposed to change her without so much as taking a second to say, “hey, wait, what is in this thing?”

Dove’s advertising drives me crazy. They are a company selling a range of products which are meant to enhance you — physically and smellfully. (That’s a real word, right?) They only make money if you buy their soap or shampoo or deodorant, all things they’ve worked hard to convince you that you need because your skin is too dirty, your hair too limp, and your armpits too smelly without it. They are part of the problem. They are out there, convincing women that they’re not good enough as is.

I’m fine buying into the idea that it helps society at large if I mask body odors and engage in other hygienic practices such as washing and combing my hair instead of walking around with a rat’s nest atop my head. I’m even fine using Dove products. But what pisses me off is when companies that continue to perpetuate the problems they’ve created in the female psyche make self-righteous commercials painting themselves as the saviours who rush in to tell those silly women that they can stop feeling like dreck and start realizing just how precious they are.

You are fucking beautiful, and you do not need a beauty product company to tell you that.

How about some honest advertising?

In my Dove commercial, the script opens with a woman walking into a drugstore feeling decent about herself.  She picks up a greeting card for a friend’s birthday, drops some Cadbury Easter eggs in her basket, and then wanders over to the shampoo aisle.  The woman bites her lip, looking at all of her options.  Wow, her body language says, I sort of never noticed just how many shampoos are out there.  And they all seem to promise something unique.  They’ll make thin hair look fuller.  And full hair look tamed.  And blond hair look lighter.  And dark hair look richer.  And curly hair look straight.  Wait… fuck… and straight hair look curly.  And…

I hate my hair.  I hate it.  I wish I could shave it all off.  No, wait, short hair is ugly.  I think I read that in a magazine.  Men don’t like women with short hair.  But wait.  Long hair makes you look ridiculous; like you’re trying to hang onto youth with your nubby little claws.  Oh my G-d, my nails look like shit too.  I need to get a manicure.  No, wait, I can’t afford a manicure because I make 77 cents to my husband’s dollar.  I’ll just buy some nail polish while I’m here.  But what colour?  Because aren’t you supposed to match your nail polish to the season?  Isn’t that why makeup companies release new colours every few weeks?  I don’t want to get the wrong colour.

Who are these sultry women on the hair colour boxes?  I should dye my hair.  I’ll look old if I don’t cover up the grey.  I’m an embarrassment to society if I actually look my age.  I should get plastic surgery done.  How do these women on the boxes look so good?  They have no pores.  Where did their pores go?  How does a person erase their pores?  Is there a product that does that?  Oh my G-d… there is.  Pore minimizer.  I need to buy this.  And this.  And this.  I am so ugly.

The scene ends with the woman’s shoulders bowed forward as she pays for all of her products and leaves, and then sits in the car with the engine off, feeling like crap.

THAT would be truthful advertising from a beauty product company.

P.S. I had a different title on this post. But every time a comment came into my inbox with the word “Fucking” in the subject line, I felt like I had to file it immediately instead of leaving it up on the screen. And we don’t need Dove’s stinkin’ patches.

14 comments

1 Ana { 04.09.14 at 1:21 pm }

Oh god I hate those Dove commercials, especially the “true beauty” ones. Yes, you are already conventionally attractive, and now you’re finally seeing for the first time how conventionally attractive you are? BS. What about the “beauty on the inside” stuff? Wait, that doesn’t sell anything…

2 Brid { 04.09.14 at 1:41 pm }

Exactly… they are all beautiful to start with… now, make me feel better about myself and then you can act like a fucking hero. Even the ones with the little girls… argh.

3 Mel { 04.09.14 at 1:42 pm }

Even worse, when they start the commercial, they’re all a little disheveled. And after their time with the patch, their hair is miraculously done! It’s magic.

4 Brid { 04.09.14 at 1:58 pm }

The benevolent coloniser…

5 Hope { 04.09.14 at 2:21 pm }

Dove says that what makes me beautiful is feeling confident.

But you know what makes me feel confident? Doing things that I enjoy and care about and am good at, not obsessing about my “beauty” (whether to criticize it OR my own self-criticism of it) all the time.

When I buy your soap, Dove, that’s because it’s unscented and on sale, not because I need a corporate pat on the head.

6 a { 04.09.14 at 2:26 pm }

I can’t even be bothered with this nonsense any more. You know what I buy? Whatever salon product is on clearance at TJ Maxx/Marshall’s/Target/Walmart. If it says volumizing (for my hair), so much the better. If I don’t break out in hives, I’ll probably buy it again. And if it does make me break out in hives, I’ll return to the same soap and laundry detergent that has kept me hive-free for the last 40 years.

I’m a sucker for ads for new sweets though… Give me a candy bar ad, and I’m all over it!

7 It Is What It Is { 04.09.14 at 4:11 pm }

Yes, I agree that they are perpetuating the problem with self image that women have yet trying to play the hero all the time, too.

And, yes, it completely struck me that women (who must not be infertile as infertile women always know what patches contain) allowed some unknown chemical patch to be placed on them for 2 weeks without knowing what it was.

But, what really struck me, what really, really, really got me, was how badly women that I can objectively see as beautiful feel that crappy in the first place. Who and how did their self image and self esteem get so fucked up in the first place? I saw them interviewed on the Today Show this morning and it literally hurt my heart that these women, vibrant and beautiful (articulate, too) were carrying around such sadness about themselves.

And that is why I hate advertising. PERIOD. Whether it’s Carl’s Jr’s recent ad showing Mystique morphing into a man to eat their fucking burger b/c what, only men are manly enough to eat that burger? What? What? What?

So, you can be part of the problem and it’s solution, Dove, you just can’t. Find another angle.

8 Caryn { 04.09.14 at 7:53 pm }

It should end with her sitting in the car, feeling one crap about herself, while she eats the Cadbury eggs.

9 Queenie { 04.09.14 at 8:35 pm }

You should see the ads here. So much worse than the US. There seems to be an expectation that women be overtly sexy. . . that beauty=overt sexuality. Yuck.

10 Aerotropolitan Comitissa { 04.10.14 at 11:10 am }

Can anyone mention Loreal here? Because I’m worth it? Maybe I’m just egoistical but I tend to think I’m worth more than cosmetics.

11 Eva { 04.10.14 at 1:08 pm }

OMG, this is ridicolous. If “beauty is a state of mind”, why does Dove keep on selling its products?! I like your idea of commercial much better!! It tells the truth! But, do you really think that those women were unaware of the fact that there was nothing inside the patches? I mean, who could believe that a patch could make you prettier? Who would put a patch on their body without knowing what it contains? I surely wouldn’t!! P.S. I saw the baby’s heartbeat today :-))

12 Geochick { 04.10.14 at 11:19 pm }

I used to be kind of on-board with the Dove advertising (using real-looking women in their ads), but this latest one is just dumb.

13 Battynurse { 04.11.14 at 12:22 am }

Ok so I will admit that one I don’t really see all that many commercials for various reasons. While Dove in general typically doesn’t bother me much I will say the one about their deodorant cracks me up because seriously women worry about how their arm pits look? Why?

14 LéaGamache { 04.13.14 at 4:10 pm }

I hate those ads soooo much, why isn’t there some facebook group against Dove “cheap feminism” ads???

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