Controversial Dove ad a misunderstanding, not racist


Tamyra Baggett, Staff Writer

Recently, Dove released an ad that many depicted as racist, saying the ad misrepresented women of color, but the ad was misunderstood and the entire situation was blown out of proportion.

The ad showed a black woman removing her shirt to reveal a white woman, and then the white woman removed her shirt to reveal an Asian woman. Many were outraged and made assumptions that the ad was misrepresenting colored women by calling their skin ‘dirty’ when that really wasn’t the case. One of the models in the Dove’s recent ad, Lola Ogunyemi, came out and said that the ad was misinterpreted.

In an article Ogunyemi wrote for the Guardian, she stated, “The complete, 30-second television commercial actually showed seven models, of various ethnic backgrounds.

Having the opportunity to represent my dark-skinned sisters in a global beauty brand felt like the perfect way for me to remind the world that we are here, we are beautiful, and more importantly, we are valued.”

While Dove wasn’t intentionally trying to be racist, it seems that the backlash they received could have been avoided by showing an Asian woman removing her shirt to reveal a white woman and vice versa instead of showing a black woman removing her shirt to reveal a white woman.

Certain critics have wrongfully compared the ad to Cook’s Soap campaign from the 1800s. Those advertisements, however, couldn’t have been misinterpreted like Dove’s ad.

Unlike the Dove ad, the Cook’s Soap campaign said, “Five little n***** boys grinning in a row watch Mummy Flannigan scrub Jim Crow. Five little n***** boys screaming with delight, ‘Golly!’ Massa, Cook’s Soap, turns black white!”

Dove’s ad was misinterpreted in the sense that they wanted to advertise their skin care products to all races, unlike advertisements from the 1800s that blatantly said that black skin was dirty and that their products claimed to wash all the ‘dirt’ off their skin to then turn it white. There is a major difference between something being misinterpreted and something being racist, and the Dove ad was nothing but a misunderstanding.