Dove, Do Better
Over the weekend, beauty company, Dove deleted a 3-second clip from its Facebook page over negative feedback on their recent soap commercial. From first glance, the video shows a black woman "changing" into a white woman after using Dove soap. Soon after Dove issued a statement on its Facebook apologizing for how they represented women of color (WoC) in the ad.
I first saw the video on the 'black twitter' sphere with tons of people calling Dove's commercial "racist", "insensitive" and "offensive", and I'd have to agree. While I watched the clip I was immediately uncomfortable... How dare Dove? How dare Dove completely dismiss and overlook its WoC market and come out with this commercial? Later on, the longer version of the Dove ads made its way to social media. Today I saw many people, surprisingly a majority of black women, responding to the frustration people have with Dove, saying how black people were being "overly sensitive" and always trying to start a problem. Even if the ad was not intentionally racist I never thought that would be a response to people's frustration.
Dove came out with a statement saying, "All three women are intended to demonstrate the 'after' product benefit. We do not condone any activity or imagery that intentionally insults any audience." Let's say that Dove did not deliberately create this commercial to undermine women of color - okay that's cool, but how many times are the brands that black women have put their trust & MONEY in to for years going to continue to "miss the mark" and misrepresent black women? Companies tip-toe around marketing when representing other races and every other minority group, but when it comes to black women where is the thoughtfulness? Do the marketing teams just take a rain-check when creating ads with black women? Are there any people in these board rooms with common sense? We have seen similar issues with Pepsi, Shea Moisture and so many other brands. Also, let's not act like Dove does not know the history of their industry. Soap companies around the world and in the U.S. have a history of ads showing "white being better".
Boycotting isn't for everyone and I get it- but when is enough, enough? As for this black girl, I am tired of the constant apologies from companies that should know better and have the means to do better. Mistakes are real, and there is such a thing as giving chances, but what does a chance look like when black women have historically been given the short end of the stick. These constant slip-ups become more than just slip-ups when the image black women in the media seem to be out of our control and when we are reminded how we "should" see ourselves in a white-dominated and male-dominated world. Black women have the right to be sensitive. We have the right to voice our discomfort. We have the right to be tired and say we are tired.