Dove Joins the Cause

by Christine Urio

Dove, the beloved soap brand, is stepping up their game and following the leading trend in showing women that they should embrace their natural beauty.

Unlike ads that shame women who aren’t a size two or fail to meet the idealized beauty standards set by society, Dove realizes constant exposure to such impossible expectations is harmful towards a woman’s self-worth, self-esteem, and confidence.

When a majority of what we are exposed to is size two models with perfectly airbrushed skin and tight stomachs, it is easy to forget that Photoshop played a helping hand. We can fall victim to a perpetual cycle of self-hate.

Beauty is subjective and Dove is here to remind us that we are beautiful in our own skin.

Their most recent addition to its self-love campaign is the video “Love Your Curls.”

According to a Huffington Post article, “curly hair is gorgeous — and a new Dove campaign wants to remind those who have doubts.”

Dove Hair: Love Your Curls (Video courtesy of Dove United States, Youtube)

As per social norm, straight hair is what women across the ages and races strive for, since that is what we are told is desirable. This is debilitating to people who are born with anything but, whether it be curly, thick, wavy, frizzy, or just plain unmanageable hair, and can have lasting effects on their self-worth and perception.

“Dove launched ‘Love Your Curls’ after conducting a survey of 859 women in the U.S., U.K. and Brazil in September 2014. Only 10 percent of women respondents in the U.S. said they ‘feel proud’ of their curly hair, and only four in 10 American girls with curly hair reported thinking that their hair was beautiful,” said a Huffington Post Article.

In the video an 11 year-old girl says, “Sometimes I wish I could just rip it out, but I’m not going to do that.”

Girls as young as the age of 6 are heard saying, “I want my hair to be straight, because when you have your hair straight it’s really smooth.” When the woman behind the camera asked if she thought this was more beautiful, the girl shakes her head “yes.”

When strong opinions have already been formed by children at such a young age about what beauty is, and how they do not meet it, it goes beyond straight strands and tricky tresses, addressing the larger problem of the destructive messages present in society.

While this is a commercial to promote Dove as a brand, it simultaneously sends a much-needed message for women to stop feeling ashamed and instead be confident about their appearances.

This is not the first time Dove has taken on the powerhouse of beauty, for it started its “Real Beauty” campaign nearly 10 years ago.

“We can’t just be getting people stirred up; awareness and conversation isn’t enough,” Sharon MacLeod, vice president of Unilever North America Personal Care, told Huffington Post. “We actually have to do something to change what’s happening.”

Many have criticized Dove of using its campaign as a marketing ploy to sell beauty products, which is seemingly contradictory. However, unlike brands such as CoverGirl or Maybelline, Dove does not specialize in eyeliner or wrinkle remover, but common hygienic products such as soap and shampoo.

Despite the inevitable backlash, Dove continues to play a role and make strides in the ongoing discussion surrounding women’s beauty and body image.

“We’re going to try to change a generation,” MacLeod told Huffington Post. “You have to wait until they grow up to see what happens.”