I like you even when you like the Dove Campaign ads because I know the message that appeals to you is the one that keeps me analyzing pop culture and media.  We want to be valued.  We want to be more.  I like you even when you like the Dove Campaign ads because I know we have a journey ahead of us and that I won’t be alone.

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Barbara Kruger, 1989

Oh Dove, you crafty son-of-a-gun.

I’m not claiming that I’ve aced loving myself.  Every day is not a perfect hair day.  I have definitely bought mascara based solely on an alluring ad campaign.  I work hard at appreciating myself; some days go a lot better than others.  I have lows that are cringe-worthy and I have days where I strut.

I want to appreciate the latest Dove “Beauty Sketches” campaign.  And clearly, so do my loved ones.  The women I love and care about in my life hear the message: We are often too hard on ourselves.

I can’t begin to describe the hope that bubbles up.  But then, my hope fades because loving myself and being body-positive is incompatible with buying products to make me that way.  Don’t you dare try to profit off my insecurities.  Shill your anti-aging creams elsewhere.

Should I feel relieved that people think I’m more beautiful than I do?  I don’t.  This is the old mantra with a new bow.  The Dove Beauty Standards are being measured on the same yardstick as always.  What isn’t valued here in this open air loft?  Freckles.  Roundness.  Diversity.  Chins.

Women are more than our physical representations.  We can have gorgeous (insert favorite body part here) and still be more than the sum of our parts.  We mentor youth & peers, discuss politics, quote Shakespeare, and fix things.  Sometimes while we do those tasks, we look like Dove thinks beautiful should look.  Sometimes while we do those tasks, we just look like us.  Some of us never look like Dove thinks beautiful should look.

Dove, the fact that you believe that our natural beauty “couldn’t be more critical to our happiness” reminds me and my large forehead that you are a constructed effort to get me to spend money (my $0.77 to a man’s earned $1.00) on products I think will make me fit into a box you made in the first place.

Dove’s ad campaign makes sense in a world of campaigns that are based on shame and societal pressures.  I’m ready for a world where we strive to live outside these narrow boundaries.  We are fluid individuals who often live messy lives.

Stepping back and noticing how our emotions are manipulated by advertisers is one of the first steps to redefining self acceptance and the importance of beauty.

8 thoughts on “I Like You Even When You Like The Dove Campaign Ads”

  1. Well-said, Allison! The “(my $0.77 to a man’s earned $1.00)” part was the ultimate burn.

    The section in The Feminine Mystique that dealt with manipulative advertising was the most eye-opening for me.

  2. I love this post, Allison, especially the part about still loving people who loved that ad campaign. I have a policy about not getting mad about other people’s Facebook posts, but this campaign’s viral spread sorely tested my resolve. And at the same time, I do still love people who liked the ad: who want to feel more beautiful, I want to feel more beautiful AND I don’t need any creams or make-up to make that possible AND I want everyone else to not use creams and make-up too, AND I also know that I have no right to ask or demand that. It feels so COMPLICATED. And you summed it all up so beautifully – you soothed an irritation in my soul. Thank you!!!

    1. You’re welcome, Alex – Thank you for sharing your sentiments about it, too! It is all so very complicated, especially with social media at the helm.

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