The Inconvenient Truth Behind Dove, The Love-Your-Body Beauty Company

Yesterday, when we presented the new Dove commerical, Onslaught, we neglected to mention a few things. Luckily, blogs Feministing and Feministe reminded us of a few facts! For starters, while Dove can be applauded for examining the damaging effects of the beauty industry, its parent company, Unilever, is a major manufacturer of skin-lightening creams marketed in India. (Because, you know, the lighter your skin, the more beautiful you are.) In addition, Unilever makes Axe body spray, whose sexist and just plain stupid ad campaigns and "humilidating" show don't exactly send the message that the Onslaught spot does. And there's more: Unilever spends $809 million on advertising: it markets Dove, which encourages women to love their bodies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, in which you can drown your sorrows if you don't love your body, and Slim-Fast, to make your body thin enough to love.



Yeah, so, Unilever is inconsistent. It's probably to be expected: The company owns about 400 brands, which, in addition to the United States, reach into South America, Europe, Africa and Australia, and with any big business, and it does whatever it needs to to sell its products. And if that means making sensitive, wide-eyed, victim-child advertising for women while simultaneously endorsing misogynist, sex-obsessed commercials for men, so be it. It is fair to assume that each tentacle of this many-headed, multinational monster even know what the 399 other tentacles are doing? (Unilever employs more than 223,000.) And if there is a centralized brain — perhaps that of CEO Patrick J. Cescau, who was quoted in a BusinessWeek article about companies going green saying, "You can't ignore the impact your company has on the community and environment" — should we hold it responsible? Cescau, who makes about 4 million dollars a year, lives in London and has two children. We wonder if they're female.

Onslaught [Feministe]
Just Say No To The Beauty Industry, Girls [Feministing]
Unilever [Wikipedia]
Earlier: Beauty Company Attacks Little Girl (And Other Beauty Companies) With Image Blitz
Indian Women Whiten Their Skin, Fight The Patriarchy
This Is The Future Of Reality Television. On The Plus Side, The War On Teenage Boy B.O. Continues!
Related:Patrick Cescau [Forbes]
Patrick Cescau [Fortune]