While We’re on The Topic of Beauty

I am sure that by now you’ve all well-acquainted yourself with Dove’s most recent effort to create a viral success but in the event you haven’t, fret not. While we’re on the topic of unilateral beauty, this seems to fit in with the theme of the day at Man Repeller quite well.

The first video in pursuit of viral success care of Dove was executed wonderfully and elicited a slew of fairly hilarious parodies, if you can recall. It included a group of women individually describing themselves to a sketch artist while the artist sketched. When the images were done, they were all much more unflattering images of the women at hand and served to prove a point about our needing to believe that we are more beautiful. Or something like that.

In evidently trying to manufacture a new strain of momentum, they released this video this morning:

And the Internet lost its shit over it. The Cut called the ad “garbage” — citing the campaign’s dexterity to make women feel dumb as a point of shame, while Jezebel dubbed it “their most bullshit yet.” Said Jezebel, “It’s definitely true that positive thinking works miracles. But that’s not what this campaign is really about; it’s about teaching women that Dove knows better. Dove is smarter. You should buy Dove because they’re on your side and they can teach you things.”

While it’s true that the events of the video can be construed as humiliating and that this alleged patch can and will continue to be misrepresented by anyone willing to interject with an opinion, isn’t there some value in bringing to surface that near universal truth that women holster complicated relationships with beauty?

Frankly, I’m conflicted. How did you feel about this campaign?

[Dove: Patches via YouTube]

  • Dove Girl_Nope


  • Dove Girl_Nope

    So they used the placebo thingy on women? Makes me question if their products are also placebo? Hmmm…

    And also, I think anyone could sort of predict that the patch is just a simple patch, right?

  • Meghan

    I like it.. I can see why people wouldn’t.. but, if you can move past the embarrassment of returning to your 5-yr old self and needing a band aid for that invisible boo boo, it’s a nice message. no harm in tricking someone into feeling beautiful so that they can realize it was within their control the entire time.

  • Kat

    The power of mind is huge. Too bad we need patches and similar stuff to prove that. I think this patch is all about placebo effect.




  • Seems like Dove read “The Secret”

  • Jeanne

    These products are placebos.

    • Sarah Rose

      Exactly. Its like a magician exposing a trick – a bit disheartening.

  • So, what did they think WAS in the patch? Magic beauty potion? This is weird.

  • Kathleen

    This ad makes every cell in my body is a vortex of rage. I’m so tired of women “needing to feel beautiful.” NO ONE HAS TO BE BEAUTIFUL. The body is meant to be utilized for running a race or creating another person or fixing things. Treat one’s own body and others’ bodies with respect.
    Stop telling me that I need to feel beautiful because I do not.

    Also it is such shit that Leandra is being told by internet trolls that she needs to wear make-up. What the actual fuck? No! That is such an anti-woman thing to say to someone. I am obsessed with make-up and would help anyone if they asked me, but no one should tell someone they need make-up because no one needs to wear it! It’s an accessory, optional appendage, or fun hobby.


    • Kathleen

      Also I want Dove to stop capitalizing on the insecurities of women and using it as a marketing tactic.

      • mel

        WoOoooOrd. (I mean, its not even subtle anymore. Or was it ever with Dove? Either way its ridiculous.)

  • Kandeel

    lmao how can a patch affect your whole perception of beauty and self confidence? Scripted and complete bull. Sorry dove.

  • M.

    ha ha haaaaaaa YOU GOT US -_- what a wast of time. Dove can spend its billions on a great line of more natural skincare that really works to make women feel beautiful… seems too easy to say, but cut the crap from products and I’m sure people will notice a difference. smaller bottles, less water as a filler, i don’t know. but this is stupid. I’ll still be a dove bar soap lover though 😛

  • kG

    i believe that the same company that creates dove commercials also makes the axe ones.. interesting..

    • mel

      Not sure. I think they’re just owned by the same manufacturer/company called Unilever. Doesnt end there though.. Unilever owns countless other companies such as Ben and Jerrys, St. Ives, Knorr..

  • Alison

    Is this advertisement ideal? No, not so much. But is it a substantial improvement over the standard fare, that which promotes a very narrow aesthetic that predictably hues white, blonde, skinny, and young? Well, yes. So, given the range of other options in the very competitive and lucrative market of marketing women’s beauty products, I think this campaign represents a step in a positive direction. That is a lot to ask of a global corporation.

  • Zhenya H

    Okay, well this is ridiculous, I knew there was nothing in that patch from the start. We have so many issues and problems as individuals, the daily stress brings us down and we forget about beauty! Look in the mirror more, smile more, workout more. Start a blog, find people who support you! Think happy thoughts. Why did Dove need a campaign like this? Are their sales down?

  • Dove is like that guy in chem class in tenth grade who ALWAYS reminded you that you’re beautiful. He also told every other girl in your grade she was beautiful. Your homeroom teacher? Also, so beautiful, to Kevin G.

    Everyone is beautiful to an indiscriminate purveyor of high school hormones and moderately priced soaps are really no different.

  • Perry

    I took a course in Sociology of Advertising and fuck Dove. Their bottom line is profit. It’s such a strange dichotomy when you have Dove and Axe working under one umbrella.

    • Anon

      Every company is motivated by profit and guess what- there’s nothing wrong with that! I don’t see why that always seems to surprise people.

  • Katja

    Very disappointing, the old Dove ads were touching and great. This one makes the women involved appear at least highly naïve, to put it mildly. Ah, a patch that magically makes you feel more beautiful. Wow, that sounds great, I can feel it already. Right. What?!!!! Is this a bad joke? It definitely feels like one!

  • Just an old fashioned psychology mind-trick… Same as affirmations, just in a form of patch. Personally, I feel odd that all these women HAD to have something to believe they were beautiful (same as believing in, say, a pill that can make one slim or detox whilst making no changes to their diet). Why not just love and accept themselves as they are? And what are they going to do now since they know that the patch is just a trick? Didn’t Dove people think of the negative consequences that may actually happen to some of these women? What a strange and twisted idea…


  • kirbybee

    There is a sweet irony in selling beauty products by encouraging people to embrace their natural beauty. Like, sure embrace it, but not too much.

    Having said that, when faced with hyper photoshopped unrealistic advertisements purporting natural beauty that couldn’t be farther from that, the idea that we don’t really need anything to just be us is refreshing to a point. I’m just not sure where that point is.

    • pamb

      I wouldn’t say Dove is selling beauty, per se. I think of makeup companies as selling beauty. Dove sells skin and hair hair. Yes, clean hair and fresh skin make you look better, but the styling in the ads is definitely on the natural, low glam side.

  • !!!

    Dove is terrible, they sell skin lightening products all over the global South. Boycott worthy for me! Even without zheir dumb ad campaigns in our latitudes!

  • The power of the placebo effect is still very much alive. I think it is all mental and people sometimes need a crutch to get themselves up, this patch may have been it for some. It is very similar to the “self-fulfilling prophecy” notion where something you believe or predict or want directly or indirectly comes true. I think its great, it shows that all you need to change is nothing at all. Just yourself.


  • Petite Pinwheel

    Dove is a detergent not a soap: Sodium Lauroyl Istethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate or Sodium Palmitate, Sodium Stearate, Water, Sodium Isethionate, Lauric Acid, Sodium C14-C16 Olefin Sulfonate, Sodium Cocoate Or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Dipropylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Blue 1, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5.

    Buy Homemade soap!

  • mel

    The idea that people would sign up for a “study” and not question what is in a patch they sign up to wear for 2 weeks scares me a little. I understand these are actors, but how is this even remotely believable. Besides that, its sappy as fuck.

  • Jill S

    Like everything else, you have to find beauty in yourself. I don’t believe that I am beautiful. I never have. But I believe that I am strong, smart, funny, I try to do good and to be what I consider a good person, and to view the potential in every day. And when things sometimes go awry, I take a deep breath and get re-centered. Yeah, that wasn’t something I thought about (much) in my twenties, but certainly a lot since then and I’m happier. I just wish this overwhelming “I’m not good enough” mindset didn’t seem to happen to EVERY woman at some point…but it can be overcome. And without something as idiotic as the “beauty” patch.

  • You know, some times we need something to push us to believe in ourselves. I’m about to hit 48 years old this month and have been feeling less than beautiful, mostly just old. I got carded buying some alcohol – carded. I know I don’t look anywhere near 20 but that alone made me feel good about myself again. Dove is trying to remind women that we do have an inner beauty that can translate to outer beauty if we just believe in ourselves. It’s hard to do when we are constantly bombarded with images showing us super thin, super young women or women who are in their 40s and 50s who are super fit or thin with nary a line on their faces because they can afford better products or trainers and all that stuff. Some times, we all need a placebo to make us remember that we are okay and wonderful the way we are.

  • Bridget

    This patch is the same thing as the sunglasses in Big Daddy.

  • Maria B

    I don’t understand why these women actually believe theres a “magic” power on this batches, I think it undermines their intelligence and shows weakness in our gender. I love that Dove was the first company to go for “real life” models and I love the campaign on true beauty, however they are crossing a line with this video! We do have a complicated relationship with beauty, but that is not what defines us. We all have issues and imperfections, the trick is to get over them, STOP talking about them and start doing something meaningful, like you know, fashion!

  • Alisha

    My issue with this video is the subjects of this ‘test’. Black, asian, mixed race and and older lady. Where are the skinny white girls now? Dove feels the need to tell minorities that they are beautiful, hence implying that if your skin is white you are naturally deemed beautiful. What is the constant NEED for women to be told they are beautiful?

    • pamb

      I think skinny white girls are pretty represented in other ads and on magazine covers 😉

      I think women need to be told they’re beautiful JUST THE WAY THEY ARE, which is different from BEAUTIFUL. That is what the Dove ad is telling them. These women aren’t wearing trendy clothes and tons of makeup, they’re very natural, which goes along with Dove’s message.

      I was embarrassed for the women in the ad, but I get what dove is trying to say.

      • Alisha

        I think you gravely missed my point pamb. We’re on the same page here!

  • For lack of a better term, this is bogus. I’m honestly so turned off by many of the Dove ads. There are better ways to say women are beautiful than to tell them how they should feel about themselves. That’s like when a woman yells at another woman for not being feminist enough, what does that accomplish? What I most appreciate about your book, Leandra, was your honest approach to your weight loss. Life is not a Dove commercial, I shouldn’t feel bad about myself for feeling bad, I should want to improve because I can improve, and I do not want someone making money off my insecurities. I love when people lose weight and they openly say “I was feeling bad about myself, and that was ok, so I wanted to change it” Ex: I just basically ate and drank every night this week while away. And how do I feel? Gross. I’m not going to look in a mirror and say WOW I LOOK GREAT AFTER BEING SO UNHEALTHY! I’m going to go to the gym (ugh, maybe). The commercial completely leaves out any other features of a woman as well. Another point of your book I liked is when you were talking about how you liked your personality and the many other aspects that make up a human being. I love my personality and if I want to improve my physique and not accept it, I’m going to do that. STOP FORCING ME HOW TO FEEEEEEEEL ABOUT MYSELF. end rant.

  • I understand that it’s trying to say that most of our insecurities are all in our heads, and that changing our mindset is the only way to truly “fix” the problem…but man, I’m not sure I like how they went about it.

    One of my students used the earlier Dove commercials in a project, and I’m very interested now to see how she would feel about this. I’ll have to send this to her and get her feedback on it.

    So I get what they’re trying to do. I just don’t think tricking people is the message they wanted to convey.

  • M

    I thought this was a parody

  • claritt

    Ooookay, So first of all, I think all the women featured in the video are a solid 8 and up. Each and every one of them, to me, were already pretty. The concept of a placebo is nothing new. And thats exactly what i think this is. A placebo.

    If sometimes you need a little pick me up, I’m not one to stop you, but come on… you can’t honestly tell me you “perceive yourself to be more beautiful” because of a beauty patch? So it has a little dose of endorphins… nothing revolutionary… and I’m not sure what it costs, but chances are you already own a pair of sneakers, and jogging is free.

    A part of me, specifically the beauty product lover, understands what women want from this, (the same thing women always want; a trick or a shortcut for better skin and losing weight) but the other part of me (the one that remembers to communicate with my brain) knows that no patch can make you “perceive” differently. I mean, a great pair of jeans might make me perceive my butt to be smaller, or a pair of spanx, but a patch???? i think not.

    Bottom line, you just gotta be comfortable in the skin your in, or be willing to work at the things your not comfortable with. Thats the truth.

    k bye. 🙂

  • Jennifer Elizabeth

    I got teary eyed for half a second, as a girl who struggles with her looks on a daily basis I could relate to what they were trying to get across, or market, and that’s what companies do..they try and market what they have to best of their abilities to make money, I don’t think their is anything wrong with that. And if it makes one girl feel good, like it did for me, I think thats kind of nice, even if not for anyone else other than me 🙂

  • Taylor

    Dove is owned by UniLever, the same company that owns AXE. Two facets of the same marketing scheme. The company evidently needs to decide whether women are virtuous beauties or human furniture in the realm of men.

  • Maya

    It’s stupid. Every smart, empowered girl struggling with her own self acceptance and body image and all already knows there is nothing science can do but her own thoughts and her own will and her mind. Please. I think it was a long version of a parody or something trying but failing to be funny.

  • Kyla

    I think it is also important to note that (in australia at least) dove is owned by the same company that also owns linx deodorant (axe in the US?). So they are telling women that they are beautiful at all ages and trying to make us ‘accept ourselves’ while at the same time they are making ridiculously sexist ads where women are portrayed as objects with no other redeeming factors beside their beauty. This is done to the extent that they are so hollow that a can of deodorant will make them want to have sex with anyone. It is so annoying that they try and make these ads against photoshop etc and then in their ads for another product they are showing THE most photoshopped women in the world. Eugh.

  • pamb

    I think it’s humiliating for the women who thought that the patch was responsible for them feeling better. “Wow, I’m so gullible that I believed some kind of drug was entering my system to make me feel better about myself, and now it’s in a national ad!”

    I get what Dove was going for (believe in yourself, have confidence in yourself) but tricking women isn’t the way to do it.

  • Clara Meurer

    I specially didn’t like it because of the first part, in which the women presented explain how they feel about themselves. They’ve chosen stereotypes – the mother, the teenager – but the characters all seemed very dumb saying why they don’t feel beautiful. I felt that the whole sequence they create simplify the relation women maintain toward they’re bodies and beauties. Not everyday you have to wake up and look for your beauty in the mirror – “Have I lost it during the night?”- sometimes you just want to rush outside and take some sun upon on yor skin,finish something you previous started, wake up your children. And if the patch was made from estrogen or some other chemical substance, should we be happy to take those with the purpose of feeling beautiful? Not looking beautiful should really avoid us of living?

  • cogitate10

    i dont think thats what the video is trying to depict.. i watched this video and i like it. it tries to tell women to have a better perception of themselves.