May 2, 2014

Dove Real Beauty Advertisement Analysis

 By now we are sure that you have all seen the Dove ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ advertisements. The video has had more than 114 million views, making it one of the most popular advertisement videos of all time. The video displays a Forensic artist asking women to describe their facial features so that he can sketch them, without seeing the women himself.  He then asks strangers to describe these women and creates an alternative sketch. The artist then shows both sketches to the women and asks them what differences they see. The main objective of the video is to show that women are often overly critical of their looks and that they don’t see their true beauty.

We recognize that Dove is trying to step away from the stereotypical representations of women in some of its other beauty commercials by using women of various shapes, sizes and ages, however we still find this campaign problematic. Although the message is supposed to be uplifting and positive to women, the women portrayed in this advertisement are mostly white, able bodied, westernized, attractive women. Some of the language used in the video also makes the viewer feel that beauty is paramount, which like many beauty product advertisements, makes women feel that they have to live up to society’s beauty standards.

There are many other criticisms that we could make of The Dove Real Beauty Campaign, but our attention has been drastically drawn to a more recent parody of the video regarding the beauty of men’s testicles. This recent video uses the same format of the Dove video but instead of women’s faces being the subject of the sketches, it is instead men’s testicles. We recognize that the original Dove advertisement was problematic, but this parody is insulting and appropriates women’s experience. The original ad was highly popular and had many positive comments on social media which displays that for some women it was empowering and a positive experience. This parody video devalues the message of the original advertisement, by using testicles which are usually a point of humour. It seems that even with problematic beauty campaigns that they are still being trivialized by men and men’s experience, displaying the prominence of a patriarchal society, where men still claim power over women and devalue them.

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