by Mariana Díaz Montiel
“If you know a girl who has been negative online – about herself or others – try this fun activity to spread positivity. #SpeakBeautiful”. With this ‘powerful’ tweet, Dove launched their new online campaign, on October 18th, encouraging women to help their female friends to stop the online negativity and replace it with a positive attitude towards themselves and how they express themselves about others. The campaign, which was launched on Twitter, hopes to measure women’s attitude change through their hashtag #SpeakBeautiful.
Dove, a UK personal care brand owned by Unilever, has acquired a good reputation of encouraging women to keep a healthy relationship with their bodies by embracing their own distinctive beauty. No one can put into question that Dove’s marketing team know how to sell their products. They do this by carefully selecting a diverse range of female models to lead their beauty campaigns. But the veracity of their campaigns has started to crumble after they keep using the same structure for them: women saying how they love their bodies, or women changing their minds thanks to the company’s effort. The only few changes they make are on their hashtags and the female model’s face.
After all the campaigns Dove has made, they force us to ask if we are ever going to have the right attitude? It seems that women, for Dove at least, are in a constant need of an attitude reform, we’ll never love our bodies the way they want us too, or maybe they just don’t have any more ideas on how to improve their brand awareness.
Their latest campaign states that if you hate your hair and body, or just have a bad day and send an angry tweet, it’s no justification enough to have a negative behaviour. Dove’s idyllic world is a world where the perfect women are portrayed as beautiful, positive human beings with high self-esteem. This world they envision is one which has forgotten all about the hardships women face, the gender gap and sexual harassment. Sometimes we just have a bad day and angrily send a tweet. So there’s no need for the positive attitude police to monitor those messages.
Although the personal care brand has come up with a campaign to change women’s negative behaviour, the hashtag #SpeakBeautiful is just a reflection of a bigger problem. Women are constantly being told to ‘smile more’ or ‘cheer up love’, as if we aren’t entitled to have a bad day or to express our discomfort, but instead we should all be smiling and happily celebrating the greatness of the patriarchal society. It seems that Dove has forgotten that women have feelings. They’ve forgotten about the violent world we live in where a skirt that’s 2 inches shorter, might lead to an avalanche of threats and sexual harassment. Plus, if this campaign is truly worried about people’s mental health, shouldn’t it be targeting men too? After all, self-esteem doesn’t make a gender distinction.
So Dove, please stop telling women how to behave. Stop censoring our words. We need help fighting the hardships we face, not more monitoring of our behaviour. We need help encouraging women to pursue scientific careers, to aim for top leadership positions, not encouragement to censor our words.