Should your daughter sign the Dove Movement?

June 27, 2010 at 6:01 pm  •  Posted in Useful, Useful and Funny by  •  13 Comments

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty (you may remember from their advertisement ‘Onslaught‘) has launched an online initiative in Canada and the United States.

The Dove Movement for Self-Esteem Declaration asks women to complete a form on to build “a world where women everywhere have the tools to inspire each other and the girls in their lives.”

Going to the source… Dove is owned by Unilever

The Unilever corporation owns several brands, including Axe (Lynx), Lux, Slim-Fast, Sunsilk and Pond’s. Unilever has “the tools to inspire women and girls” – so what they have done with them?

Take a look at the three statements of the Dove Movement vision…

Dove Movement’s Vision:

A world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety

  • Imagine a world

    …Where every girl grows up with the self-esteem she needs to reach her full potential.

In India & Asia, Unilever sells skin-lightening creams under the Pond’s brand. Their storytelling advertisements pit women against each other as they compete for a man. Lightest skin wins the groom?

  • Imagine a world

    …Where every woman enjoys feeling confident in her own beauty.

In an ad for Slim-Fast, a woman ridicules the “matchstick” nutritionist who suggests she take 6 months to get in shape. Because, she’s fat now!

  • Imagine a world

    …Where we all help to build self-esteem in the people we love most.

The Axe ads are so notorious, do they really need to be explained? Video says it all…

So, what do you get when you sign the Dove Movement petition?

We’ll give you opportunities to mentor the girls in your own life, as part of a community of women from all over the world. We’ll alert you when important news on real beauty and self-esteem issues arise, and give you concrete ways to make a difference for the women and girls in your life.

That’s what you get, but what do you give?

Your demographics information is collected by Unilever. Age, location, email address, etc.

Submit this form to be alerted about self-esteem.

If you’re wondering if this is a “right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing” situation for a gigantic corporation, take a look at the press contacts for Dove Movement.

Press contacts for Dove Movement

Noticed the #DoveMovement tweets?

In Canada at the campaign launch event, the hashtag #DoveMovement contained a lot of tweets like this one:

Follow the hashtag #Dovemovement on twitter.

You mean, they avoid activities like letting somebody touch their hair?

This Sunsilk ad preys on girls’ insecurities:

It goes without saying that…

Criticism of Dove Movement is independent of criticism of beauty products, naked bodies, or fashion. It’s not face cream or sexy ads that are the problem with this campaign.

The problem is the hypocrisy of a marketing campaign telling North American women: “You’re beautiful. Self-esteem is important. The media is hurting your daughters!”

…at the same time that the same company actively contributes to advertising that attacks self-esteem.

There are charities listed as partner organizations for Dove Movement to benefit from the “Self-Esteem Fund”. A true commitment to corporate social responsibility would be for Unilever to lead by example and reduce the advertising they point fingers at in this hypocritical (and brilliant) Dove ad:


  1. Lindsey / June 28, 2010 at 10:11 am /

    The Pond’s skincare commercial you posted is F’d! Great post. Also worth noting is that nowhere on the Dove Movement website does it actually tell you WHAT the Dove Movement is/will do – the part about how they will alert you when self-esteem issues arise in “your community” is very strange…and vague!

  2. paula schuck / June 28, 2010 at 3:33 pm /

    Aw man I had no idea that Dove and Axe were both Unilever. That is just wrong! Hate hate hate Axe ads. And skin lighteners for Asians. I think I just threw up a bit.


  3. Liza-the-second / June 28, 2010 at 7:42 pm /

    What’s frustrating about the ads is that *even separate from everything else Unilever is doing* they’re profoundly hypocritical.

    The campaign for real beauty exists to sell us… Dove beauty products. Which are designed to smooth skin, hide signs of aging, and… make people conform to the beauty standard.


    Also, you know who benefits from the idea that there are “real” women and “not real” women? Hint: not women. Real or otherwise.

    This is like Phillip Morris running a stop-smoking campaign. Sure, on the surface it looks nice, but I think I might not be buying it.

  4. Amber / June 28, 2010 at 11:24 pm /

    This is a great expose of a flawed campaign. Self esteem is great. But the beauty industry is not the place I’d go looking for it. And they’re not the people I’d want to teach my daughter.

  5. Nine / June 29, 2010 at 9:00 am /

    Tweeted about this because the hypocrisy makes me want to cry. Especially after seeing that Ponds commercial! Thank you for this straightforward expose!

  6. Jo / June 30, 2010 at 1:08 pm /

    I have a daughter who is already super conscious of the tiny chickenpox scar on her forehead. She’s six!

    Linking to this post from my blog if you don’t mind, I think this is important for more people to read.

    • Claire / June 30, 2010 at 2:56 pm /

      I don’t mind at all – and I’m sorry to hear that your daughter feels insecure so young. I definitely have my “Don’t look in the mirror!” days myself so I don’t appreciate a corporation’s deliberate marketing strategy to make $$$ off me by telling me what I want to hear…As long I as I live in North America.

  7. edenland / March 23, 2011 at 9:23 pm /

    Wow. I just discovered you from a tweet, came here, and read this. That Ponds ad? Ugh. I was in Bali recently, and went into a supermarket while the driver and my husband waited in the car. I needed some deoderant, rounded the corner of the beauty aisle … and came across rows and rows and ROWS of skin-whitening products.

    It made me feel sick. I got back in the car and ranted and raved at the unfairness … that darker-skinned women would feel inferior, that products liked this even EXIST.

    There was silence in the car. After a while, the driver simply said, “Yes …. women want to have lighter skin here. Same as women want to have darker skin (tans) in other parts of the world. Is crazy, yes?”

    Yes. Is very, very crazy.

    • Claire Kerr / March 24, 2011 at 11:23 am /

      Amazing story! I think what is most upsetting is that big marketing agencies are assuming Canadian women never travel or pay attention to things that happen in other countries. Does Unilever believe they can market to us in one way in Canada, and another way in Bali, and we will praise them for it?

  8. Julia / April 4, 2012 at 5:35 pm /

    I am actually doing a project in my social movements class on major companies using things such as charity, and even social problems, as a marketing strategy. This website has been extremely useful! Let me know if anyone has any other information on the hypocrisy of the company and the Self-Estem movement all together.

  9. rekrutacja pracowników / July 16, 2012 at 6:29 pm /

    I’m still learning from you, as I’m improving myself. I definitely love reading all that is written on your site.Keep the stories coming. I liked it!

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