Dove Faces Obvious Backlash After Posting Ad Of Black Woman Turning White

Dove Faces Obvious Backlash After Posting Ad Of Black Woman Turning White

If the short-lived Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial made you shake your head in silent disbelief, the new Dove body wash ad will make you let out an audible gasp of horror. Dove released an advertisement on Facebook Saturday featuring a smiling black woman taking off her shirt (and… skin?) to reveal a red-haired white woman underneath. It’s difficult to fathom what the brand’s intention was here, especially as Dove has launched several campaigns in the past to establish itself as a feminist and progressive choice for women. The advertisement is depicting a before-and-after sequence with women of color as the “before,” and perpetuating the racist narrative that blackness is somehow synonymous with being unclean.

Dove released an advertisement on Facebook Saturday featuring a smiling black woman taking off her shirt (and… skin?) to reveal a red-haired white woman underneath.

It’s difficult to fathom what the brand’s intention was here, especially as Dove has launched several campaigns in the past to establish itself as a feminist and progressive choice for women. The advertisement is depicting a before-and-after sequence with women of color as the “before,” and perpetuating the racist narrative that blackness is somehow synonymous with being unclean.

Of course, as soon as the ad was posted, consumers responded, and the backlash was swift. Dove took down the advertisement and apologized on Twitter and Facebook for the white supremacist messaging, though many found the apology to be minimal and flippant.

A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay also slammed the apology, pointing out Dove’s usual commitment (or, at least, perceived commitment) to intersectionality.

A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay also slammed the apology, pointing out Dove’s usual commitment (or, at least, perceived commitment) to intersectionality.

In posting such a racist ad, Dove not only propagates harmful narratives, but it also undermines its own attempt at authenticity. Celebrating people of color, women, and plus-sized consumers to sell body wash is an insincere marketing move, one that looks especially problematic when sickening ads like this come to light.

To argue that this advertisement “missed the mark” is a gross hyperbole.