Oh, Dove. We all know that I’m not a huge fan of their Real Beauty campaign. But they keep plugging away, determined to get people to buy their products by assuring them that they will be allowed to feel beautiful if they spend enough money on body wash and facial cleanser. Their new campaign is called Patches and it’s supposed to show that women just need someone to tell them that they’re beautiful. But it’s really just how effective the placebo effect is and how duping women is just a fun game.
When the campaign starts out, it shows women of various ages and ethnicities talking badly about their bodies and their confidence. This is the starting point for most Dove ads. It shows that women are helplessly trapped in an endless cycle of self-hatred that they can never manage to get out of. They need a soap company to go in and rescue them from their own emotions.
Then women are then instructed to wear a “beauty patch” for two weeks and record a video diary every day. The women do so and while they don’t seen an immediate change, they all start to note that they feel more confident and more comfortable in their own skin. When they come back at the end of the two weeks, they tell the doctor that they loved the patch and it changed their life and they would absolutely purchase it and encourage others to do the same.
Then the doctor reveals the horrible truth. There was nothing in the patch. It was just a patch. The real beauty was inside them the entire time! They just needed someone else to tell them that they were supposed to feel beautiful and BAM! Their inner, self-confident woman was released upon the world.
You can stop and roll your eyes now.
The first thing I’m sick of is people insisting that women have to be beautiful. If they’re not physically attractive, they have to have inner beauty. They have to be beautiful and if not, they can’t exist. Beauty is not a requirement to be female or to be feminine. Beauty is a bullshit idea that forces women into a one-word definition and leaves them there to revel in how pretty they feel. Stop treating women like children and let them decide how they feel and define themselves.
I’m also tired of the average woman being shown as some kind of victim. So inundated by unrealistic advertisements and beauty culture that she has no choice but to feel awful about herself. Showing these women as average representations of the population just reinforces the idea that you’re not supposed to feel good about yourself if you’re a woman. All women feel poorly about their bodies, so why should you be okay with yours?
But the biggest problem I have with this ad campaign is that is proves nothing about beauty or female confidence. It just shows how powerful the placebo effect is. Women were told they were getting a beauty patch, so they started to feel more beautiful. Maybe these women should have had some therapy instead. It would have been much more effective and would had much longer lasting results.
Know what would actually help women instead of showing them as unintelligent victims? Show average women who are confident and are happy with themselves and have them describe how they got there. Show that you don’t have to be ashamed of your body if you’re a woman and you can feel any way you want to, no matter your genitals. Show people the amazing women who know who they are and what they want from live and give real women role models of substance and strength.
Being a woman doesn’t mean that you’re beautiful or have to feel that way. It also doesn’t mean that you’re unintelligent, a victim or a helpless waif that has to wait for a beauty company to save you. If you want to help women, be comfortable with yourself and encourage those around you. Don’t put a fake patch on your arm and engage in this mental masturbation.