In examining the nature of being beautiful because you feel beautiful in their Real Beauty campaign, Dove, owned by Unilever, has been using female empowerment as tool to sell their products for the last decade. The campaign has successfully been wooing female customers to buy Dove products by attempting to prove to them that they are more beautiful than they think they are and to be more confident about the way they look.
The campaign has walked the line with feminists for years as many have felt this marketing strategy is more about playing on women's insecurities and buying products they don't need than it is about making women feel confident about themselves.
Dove's latest leg of the Real Beauty campaign involves a four-minute marketing video where Dove explains they have created a "revolutionary" beauty patch (dubbed RB-X) that will magically enhance women's perception of self-beauty.
Wait, it gets worse.
The "real-life" women selected to wear the patch tell us in the video that prior to the trying the patch they suffered from various insecurities about the way they look and the way they feel about themselves in general.
When Dove ultimately reveals the patch is fake to these women, instead of being angry they were duped, they tear up with the realization they were "beautiful all along."
While Dove clearly has hopes this video will lift the Real Beauty campaign to the next level with even more powerful messages of women emerging from their insecurities and tackling their self-confidence issues, feminists loath the spot saying it only serves to reinforce old and negative stereotypes.
"'Real Beauty'" features and advertisements cleverly sell you products under the guise of body-positivity while actually reinforcing the idea that a woman's worth is based on the way she looks to others," said Katie J.M. Baker, who writes for Jezebel, women's rights blog.
Maggie Lang, who writes about women's issues and popular culture for several publications was even more to the point saying, "Shame upon you, Dove, for making these women seem dumb, and for not scripting at least one of them to act outraged that she had been duped."