Are We #TeamTooMuch or is Dove Really Trying to Disrespect Black Women?

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 appeared to be Latina.  And now, the world wide web is crying foul because the ad transitions from the black woman removing her shirt to reveal a white woman.  See for yourself.

So, was Dove intentionally being racist?  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 were in that 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.

Old school soap ad

So, when do the lines 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.

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