Executives with Dove cosmetics are apologizing after a three-second GIF caused a social media uproar! The ad featured a black woman, a white woman and a woman who appears to be Latina. The world wide web is crying foul because the ad transitions from the black woman removing her shirt to reveal a white woman, and then the white woman removing her shirt to reveal the other woman. See for yourself.
So, was Dove intentionally being racists? Some are pointing out that Dove has a history of questionable ad practices.
When I first saw the entire ad, I wasn’t so offended – I mean I get it, Dove tried to be inclusive with all three women, I like the fact that their tee-shirts match the color of their skin. If I was in the Dove ad meeting, I would have suggested putting the white woman first or maybe using an Asian woman instead. But after realizing that this wasn’t the first time Dove has been accused of being culturally insensitive, I had to think again.
Historically, beauty campaigns have left women of color out of the mix. Women have been wearing makeup since the beginning of time and now, in 2017 we are praising Fenty Beauty for finally going beyond the norm to include all skin tones. And we can’t ignore the fact that cosmetic and beauty companies have been trying to white-wash black people for decades.
UnApologetically African & PROUD|✊🏾👊🏾Truth Only| Hello @dove check the history before you release such a #Racist ad. Black skin turns into a white after the use of your soap ? Is a marketing mistake ? You only have to look into history to see how the #BlackSkin was hated, mocked and degraded for over 500 plus years. This was a calculated and brainstormed ad put together by #Dove to stir trouble and bring much more exposure to their brands. _ In the end black people not using their products, especially their soaps and creams won't bring down their profits in the market. Well the truth is #Dove product doesn't speak to the Melanin skin. This ad was not done by mistake, any apology is merely for more commercial and news worthy publicity. #StayWoke ##DoveRacism #TvAd #Dove #CheckTheHistory #BlackSkin #Melanin #SayNoToRascim #DoveCommercial
So, when do lines the become blurred? When does a failed ad campaign become a fight for the beauty rights of women of color. And when it comes to diversity, I think most beauty companies miss the mark – when was the last time, we saw an Asian woman, Native American woman or Muslim woman lead a major campaign. The world is larger than just black and white, and to be truly inclusive, we need to demand that everyone has a seat at the table.
Maybe, this outcry over Dove’s latest calamity is a good thing, because we are now forcing conversation around diversity and understanding what is offensive and what’s in good taste. Let’s hope this time, someone finally gets it right.