It would be easy to think that some companies thrive off of controversy and riling up Black Twitter, that they allow blatantly offensive and hurtful behavior despite having a hired team of professionals to prevent exactly that.
Consumers are starting to question how these worldwide, multimillion dollar corporations can “miss the mark” so many times in an age where social justice and activism is so dominant.
Pepsi, Shea Moisture, various fashion designers and big beauty brands have all misstepped repeatedly, again and again.
Now we can add Dove to that list.
Dove now has a three time offensive record all targeted towards people of color.
The company has taken the long held belief that there is plenty of money to be made in the idea that blackness needs to be scourged and cleansed, thus leaving something pure in its place. Of course, that purity means white.
The current ad at the center of outrage features a dark skinned black woman removing a brown shirt to have a white woman take her place.
Many on social media were confused as to what exactly Dove was implying by the imagery, most in stunned belief that such a huge brand could promote such bigoted symbolism.
“Racial insensitivity” is not a first for Dove, a former ad has three women placed in a line from darkest to light. Darkest being the case study of “before” Dove use while light/white was the example of “after”. Once more placing the idea that blackness is something to be rid of in aspiration of lighter skin.
Yet again, Dove demonstrates that same ideology in labeling their products “for normal to dark skin”. Suggesting that dark skin is undesirable and an otherworldly trait instead of a common trait that millions of other people have and should be proud of.
This current ad has since been taken down and the usual (flippant and dismissive) public apology has been bestowed in hopes we forget about all this until the next time it happens.
We’ve dealt with centuries of advertisements from companies pedaling a million different ways to rid ourselves of our black features, trying to convince us all to change what makes us….us. A culture of people who are often imitated but always told whiteness is the status quo.
The only positive in all this is that it gives black owned beauty brands a chance to thrive. Many have already pledged not to spend another cent on Dove products as they have made it clear that our skin is far from “normal”. Hopefully Dove goes the way of Shea Moisture who saw a significant drop in sales after their own public misshap.
Either way, companies need to be aware that consumers of color now have plenty of other options and will no longer be taken for granted.