A now-deleted Facebook ad for Dove body wash, depicting a looping image of a black woman removing her brown shirt to then be revealed as a white woman in a light shirt, has incited merited backlash.
An age-old racist expression in soap advertising, the three-second GIF of a black woman transitioning into a white women perpetuates the trite (and dangerous) notion that black people are “dirty” and should be “cleansed.” A third woman, light-skinned and Middle Eastern, is depicted in the end before the GIF re-loops.
— HĪP MAGAZINE (@HIPWEEKLY) October 9, 2017
On Saturday (Oct. 7), Dove issued a copout apology claiming, “Dove is committed to representing the beauty of diversity. In an image we posted this week, we missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused.”
“What was the mark?” Facebook user Ariel Macklin wrote in a Facebook comment. “I mean anyone with eyes can see how offensive this is. Not one person on your staff objected to this? Wow. Will not be buying your products anymore.”
— Thami (@DavidMilis) October 9, 2017
While it’s not the first time Dove “missed the mark” promoting colorism, the beauty company’s tone deafness not only points to antiblack rhetoric, it also sends a message that black women are not beautiful.
— Jemisha Johnson (@jemisha_johnson) October 8, 2017
Internet beauty maven Naomi Blake attempted to deconstruct Dove’s message and bring to awareness where they went wrong and what message they are sending to impressionable young girls of color.
“Please think deeper, everything has a subliminal message,” she wrote under the ad on Facebook. “What are you telling the little black girls who watch this?”
In the original post the 3rd girl is included at the bottom under the pic ….also statement from dove and my suggestion on how to improve….ads like these can come off as subliminal especially to the youth….play the ad for your child and tell me what they say….. ____________________________________________________ #blackgirlmagic #follow4follow #fentybeauty #makeupforblackwomen #blackopalbeauty #universodamaquiagem_oficial #motd #instaglam #makeupforblakgirls #makeupartistsworldwide #makeupformelaningirls #undiscovered_muas #blueeyeshadow #unconditionedroots #wakeupandmakeup. #makeupmeme #tartecosmetics #blackradiancebeauty #cutcrease #sephora #makeup #balleralert theshaderoom #dragperfection #featuremuas #juviasplace #catfishthetvshow #makeupaddict #beardgang #dovead
The black model featured in the ad reportedly responded to the backlash. Here’s what she had to say: