Breaking down: The controversial Dove advert

For those who have not caught up, Dove recently revealed a new facebook advertisement. However, the short clip has created a controversial response after seeming to depict a black woman removing her skin and becoming white. Dove has since removed the clip and apologised.

So what were Dove’s intentions? 

Dove intended to demonstrate diversity through the clip and illustrate that their product was for all women of all nationalities and ethnicities. Their full response can be seen on their Twitter page.

How else was it viewed? 

However, not everyone saw it this way, and the advert was called “racist” by some as it appeared to illustrate white-washing and ethnic preference towards whites.

There was also an emotional response from some, Sonia Thompson writer for discussed “tears of pain in response to what seemed like a brand I loved telling me there was a problem with my skin.”

What is the culture surrounding this? 

There is a strong culture around what is considered “whitewashing”, where pale skin is considered “more beautiful” than other skin tones. This has developed a skin whitening/lightening market and industry particular in Asia region. For more information on this provides an interesting read.

Lighter skin has also historically been associated with nobility and wealth in a range of cultures from Asian to European.

Skin tone has also been known to be altered digitally and physically for media, advertising, entertainment and other purposes. This has attracted criticism for distorting reality and developing negative definitions of beauty.




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