At Racked, Amanda Mull considers the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty and suggests that brands have no place in shaping public discourse or opinion about how women should feel about their bodies.
When you peel back all the layers of infantilization that Dove and its marketing progeny have heaped on us, though, you get something that’s pretty simple: A lot of people are genuinely sick of being pushed to feel bad about themselves all the time, and they probably also don’t want to expend the energy required to performatively love themselves in the body positivity mode preferred by the idea’s advocates online.
They probably just want to buy and use soap that works, have access to clothing in their size, and not think about their physical selves so much. They also probably don’t want to be denied job opportunities or refused lifesaving medical care because of what they look like. None of that requires a body wash brand to weigh in on anyone’s self-worth, and maybe the most helpful thing brands could do for all of us is shut the fuck up.