If you've been anywhere near social media in the last few days then you've probably already seen or heard about Dove's latest campaign effort: The Dove "Real Beauty" Sketches.
The sketches are presented as a "social experiment" to show women that they are "more beautiful than they think." A forensic artist draws two sketches of each woman: one drawn from descriptions she gives of herself, the other from a stranger's description of her features. We then sit back in awe as the woman in question is presented with both sketches; confronted with the fact that she is perceived to be significantly more attractive than she considers herself to be.
Now, I've taken Dove to task for this campaign before (in fact that post remains the most read and visited post on this blog, week after week, more than 6 months later) but I think that it bears repeating why this campaign, while clearly well-intentioned, is horribly misguided.
I'll even admit that I fell for it at first, I really did. When you watch these women's reactions to seeing how much worse they perceive themselves, it's very hard to not get sucked into the emotion of the moment, and to commiserate with your own insecurities about your appearance. It's a burden that women are forced to bear from the moment they are old enough to perceive their femininity. We all know how critical we can be about our appearance; we're desperate to find a way to fit ourselves into the box that is society's definition of "beauty".
So I smiled, and I felt fuzzy inside, and I came away with the message Dove wanted me to come away with: "You are more beautiful than you think." And I even felt good that Dove had "finally gotten it right". But after reading this excellent piece that calls out all the problematic elements of the campaign, I realized that I had let myself be bamboozled by good intentions. The marketing machine had swallowed me.
Because in actuality, this new iteration of the campaign is just as problematic as the first.