Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Support quality journalism
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24weeks
The Globe and Mail
Support quality journalism
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Globe and Mail website displayed on various devices
Just$1.99
per week
for the first 24weeks

var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){console.log("scroll");var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1);

The sun-dappled new advertisement by Dove shows women describing their own looks to a former police forensic artist for a sketch. Afterward, strangers describe the women’s looks to the artist.

The anti-Dove swell has taken hold, and it looks like women don't like being preached to by large multinationals that also peddle bikini babes to adolescent boys.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches was intended as the company's latest self-aware, tear-jerky campaign. The sun-dappled spot shows women describing their own looks to a former police forensic artist for a sketch. Afterward, strangers describe the women's looks to the artist, and predictably, they're far more generous.

The lesson? Women are their own worst critics, and in the end, those in the Dove ad weepily question their own poor self-image. The closing tag line announces: "You are more beautiful than you think," followed by the company logo.

Story continues below advertisement

"Dove hires FBI to teach women they're beautiful," crowed the headline over at Shine.

But most other critics have argued that Dove is a beauty brand that profits from women's insecurities. (To boot, it's owned by Unilever, which pushes skin-lightening creams in India and also owns Axe – not exactly a feminist line.)

"Dove, don't you dare suggest that the hatred comes from within. It's being handed down to us from a never-ending supply, sustained by companies just like you," wrote London-based blogger Linnea Dunne.

"The problem is that a beauty product manufacturer depends on its audience wanting to be beautiful. And try as it might to convey that beauty comes from within, that's not where it's going to make its money – and, actually, it keeps failing miserably, every single time."

(Here's how Toronto writer Anupa Mistry aptly put it: "Dovesplaining.")

The campaign was also parodied this week with a version made for men.

"Tell me about your eyes," this forensic artist asks one dude. "A lot of people say they're an abyss, because they just don't end," comes his reply. Another guy decides his face has the balance of a "white Denzel Washington." Female strangers are then called in to reassess the men, comparing them to eyebrowless lawn gnomes.

Story continues below advertisement

This campaign's tagline? "Men. You're less beautiful than you think."

Funny, but also indicative of larger double standards: while men may be pressured by beauty brands to get laid, they don't have this style of patronizing to put up with.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies