There’s a lot of pressure creating content these days when everyone is worried about being politically correct. The recent Dove ad fiasco is a great example. Dove released a three-second GIF showing a black woman taking off her shirt to reveal a white woman, who then takes off her shirt to reveal an Asian woman.
Many social medias users speculated that this ad represented the stereotype of a “dirty” black person being cleansed to white. Perhaps if the order was changed and the white woman took off her shirt to reveal the black woman (model Lola Ogunyemi) people would not be in such an uproar. Changing the order would have changed the negative perception of “dirty” to clean; however, Dove wanted Ogunyemi to be the face of the campaign and I think that is commendable.
People are too busy looking for something to be upset about and it’s especially easy to jump on the bandwagon when everyone is pointing fingers that Dove is racist.
I looked at this ad with the preconceived notion that it was racist as an article headline said. I understood what everyone was complaining about, but more than that, I saw that Dove was trying to represent diversity. Three seconds and they feature three different races; that’s pretty good in my eyes. Overall, I saw the message that Dove works for all women with different types of skin.
Even Ogunyemi didn’t think the ad was racist and said she is not a victim. She and other women were very excited about creating the ad as well.
“All of the women in the shoot understood the concept and overarching objective – to use our differences to highlight the fact that all skin deserves gentleness,” she wrote in an opinion article on The Guardian.
She also noted that her friends and family loved the ad and congratulated her on being the first woman to appear.
The 30-second TV commercial featured seven women of different ages and races. Instead of the T-shirts, they were in a bathroom answering the question, “If your skin were a wash label, what would it say?” Having the variety of skin types answer this question was more effective at getting Dove’s message across than the three-second GIF.
Dove took down the ad and released an apology saying they “missed the mark.” Their apology has upset people as well. Ultimately, I agree with Ogunyemi that Dove should have backed up their creative vision in the apology and explain their choice for choosing Ogunyemi as the face of their campaign.