February 21, 2008

Dove Love?

By now you may have seen the viral Dove ads entitled Evolution and Onslaught. When I watched these short films/ads I felt "Wow, Dove is a socially responsible company and is really trying to reverse damage done by the media and the beauty industry".

The first ad shows how a beautiful model's image is made up, lighted, Photo Shopped , basically distorted to an unnatural degree, proving that there's no sense in wishing you looked like her...She doesn't even look like "her". Women and girls are fighting, dying, for a standard that is not even real. It makes me wonder how the models feel. They are told they are the most beautiful women in the world, but even that isn't good enough.

Now, the second ad shows a beautiful, innocent, young girl, then we are bombarded by all of these these fast images of hyper sexualized objectified women,and advertisements making empty promises and women undergoing drastic surgical measures to be what society tells us is beautiful. It's as if it's from a young girl's point of view. We have been desensitized to it all when many girls today look up to Bratz dolls and Britney spears.

It is everywhere and completely overwhelming for girls subjected to what others think they are supposed to look like. It effects boys and men as well. They end up having a twisted idea of what beauty is or what a normal woman looks like! Our perception is consistently warped when it comes to what is attractive anymore.

On the other hand, I'm not entirely sure the dove campaign for real beauty is totally sincere. I don't mean to be a cynic, but let me be the devils advocate here for a minute. Before we line their already well-lined pockets, let's think about it.

The ads, technically for Dove Self-Esteem Workshops, carry a good message, but are they good intentioned? Are we to believe they care about our self esteem? Our psychological well-being? Or is it just an effective marketing ploy taking advantage of women's insecurities?

I'm not saying there's a corporate bigwig somewhere laughing maniacally in his/her turned around cushy chair, but Dove is a cooperation, and cooperations are after profit. Now there's nothing inherently wrong with selling or using beauty products, but there's a bit of hypocrisy here. The ad says "Talk to your daughter before the beauty industry does" Dove is a part of the beauty industry.

Dove's parent company, Unilever also owns Fair and Lovely and Axe products. The ads for F&L and Axe absolutely contradict what Dove's campaign is trying to do. One tells darker skinned women in Africa, the Middle East and Asia that only white skin is beautiful. Axe commercials are entirely misogynistic, using scantily clad disproportionate women to play on boy's insecurities, making them think that using their product will make them attractive and, well, get them some.

I'm not saying not to purchase Dove products, heck I have some Dove shampoo, but I think it behooves us to analyze why we buy or buy into things.

In the end it falls upon us parents to teach our children what is right and wrong. To counteract the unhealthy stigmas that are placed into our children's subconsciouses. I'd like to think that as Muslims or as people living in a so called Islamic country, we don't have to worry about these types of issues, but it's just not true. I have 3 young girls, Alhamdullilah and already, 2 of them (ages 6 & 8) are particular about their hair and clothes most of the time. It wasn't always this way. The world is changing. I'm sure I didn't give a thought to my perma-ponytail or look twice at a lipgloss until at least 11 years of age. We all want better for our children and it gets increasingly more difficult when the world is getting worse.


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  2. Salaam Brother, You are welcome to post inshaAllah comments relevant to the post topic, thanks for the link I'll be checking it out, inshaAllah.

  3. As-salaamu'alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuhu my dearest sister,

    Oh yes, the Dove evolution.. I remember watching it a while back, and thought.. how sad, that I am sure so many people don't know this. And you know when you study Graphic Design (as I did).. you realize how much a picture can be changed.

    I pray the Bratz Dolls disappear.. everytime I see them on the shelves I am so thankful they weren't part of my childhood.

    I do agree with you, a lot does fall upon the parents, but it's very hard (both for the parents and children) when it's them against the rest of the world. May Allah make it easy for all parents. Ameen.

    Wa'alaykum as-salaam
    Love Farhana

  4. Of course Dove's also tryin' to make a buck!

    I think what they're saying is spot on - but that doesn't necessarily mean that their initial motivation is so pure - just to make us all feel good. No, they're a product company, and they want their consumers to feel good and safe and happy about buying their products.

    If it was a non-profit or not-for-profit organization offering those workshops, it would be different, IMO.

    I'm not saying it's wrong; it's just the nature of being a company. Marketing strategies.

    But I do think it's great that they ARE offering that information for people to think about - about how absolutely FAKE our current idealization of beauty is.

    I pray it gets back to natural. And messages like these, whatever there intentions, do help in that they help people to reflect, inshaAllah.

    Wallahu alim.


  5. Sketched Soul, Yea, Bratz are ridiculous. I mean, people thought Barbie was bad? Those dolls are so skanky, it's like a parody. From the name, to their faces and their clothes...blech!
    Ameen on your duaa. =)

    UmmYehiya, Exactly! Thanks.;o)

  6. O M G I hate the bratz dolls. I think they were the last straw on the girly toy industry for me. My daughters will not have barbies unless they are those nifty muslimah barbies, and they will not play with crap like the bratz. or watch the barbie movies. or grrrrrrrrrrr

    the bratz are complete jokes. they are porn star dolls.

    my hatred for them is deep, dark, and molten.

    as for dove, it makes your hair waxy and your skin sticky.

    I don't like it. But I DID love their idea. I think it helped identify the issues plaguing us. And yes, they did it for a buck, but truly, I don't think it was a bad thing.

    There's a book called "Toxic sludge is good for you"
    (find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Toxic-Sludge-Good-You-Relations/dp/1567510604)
    That we read in a PR and Comm class I took my last semester which was arguably the best class I had ever taken in my life.

    Its about the CRAP that the PR industry tries to sell us. Read it and you'll really open your eyes.

    but I don't personally think that Dove's true beauty campaign is bad. I think its a "lets make a good thing out of a bad thing" mentality.

    And did I mention that I hate the bratz dolls?

    ...oh... I do...

  7. Yea, Moll, Bratz are the debil! Checking out that link...

  8. Maryam1:45 AM

    Check it out - http://infoguide.wordpress.com/2008/02/22/do-to-before-you-turn-18/


  9. Thanks for the tag Marya, I'll work on it this weekend InshaAllah.


Thanks for commenting!