I have always admired Dove for their real beauty campaign and using real women in their advertising. So I was delighted last week to see their latest film by marketing company Ogilvy & Mather entitled Love your Curls.
The ad starts with a statement saying that “Only 4 out of 10 curly haired girls think their hair is beautiful”. Then it shows clips of interviews with young girls, who feel sad about their curly hair and believe they would be more beautiful with straight hair. After this the girls friends and families are dancing with them down the street and leading them into a surprise party where everyone there is celebrating their curls (this bit is a little cheesy but sweet). Everyone is singing and dancing to the song ‘We all love our curls’, which was especially composed for the advert. A final statement states that “Girls are 7 times more likely to love their curls if the people around them do”. You can watch it here.
Rob Candelino, VP of marketing for haircare at Unilever, spoke about the new film in an interview with Adweek. They noted that quite a few black girls and women were featured in the advertisement and wanted to know if Rob thought the advert made a particular statement about the discussion regarding natural hair versus relaxed hair in the black community—or women who relax their hair or their children’s hair. He said “The ‘Dove Hair: Love Your Curls’ campaign was crafted with an emphasis on encouraging all women to embrace their individual curl type and texture, regardless of race or ethnicity… Beauty, confidence and self-esteem are wide and far-reaching topics. Dove believes that every woman has the opportunity to make a difference in a girl’s life and have a positive impact on her self-confidence. The Dove Hair: Love Your Curls campaign is intended to motivate and inspire all women and girls with curls.” [Source]
I liked the advert a lot and shared it everywhere. So I was very surprised by the negative response from many of our natural sisters. They said they were suspicious, that Dove had ulterior motives and that Dove was taking something from us, something that we created. They said that the natural struggle was ours alone and no one should be trying to get in on this struggle. There was so much anger.
I even saw people complaining that they even didn’t use particular hair types. Natural’s we need to get away from this hair type business if it is going to divide us. I saw many different hair types right here…
Dove have done a number of campaigns highlighting natural beauty for women of all nationalities, shapes and ages. Off the top of my head I can’t think of many other mainstream beauty companies that have any interest in promoting confidence in women. Yes they are company but if they’re putting out a positive message for our young girls to love themselves, why should this be a problem?
When people that say that Dove are “taking our problem”, I find it a hard concept to understand as when we are fighting for something we want as much support as possible. For example, there has been a long struggle against racism in this country. Would the struggle be more successful if it was only black people could support racial equality? Or would there be more support wheelchair users in the office if they were only supported by other wheelchair users? I don’t believe so.
Others have said that Dove doesn’t know the problems of black women. It seems to me that Dove have done their research and have determined that that there is an issue with curly hair across many nationalities. I believe that although this is a big issue in the black community, accepting curly hair is also an issue with women outside our community as well. Dove won’t know the story in the black community as well people in the black community, but that not the most important thing. The important thing is that the message about accepting natural beauty and celebrating it has just got a tiny bit louder.
Imagine what a generation of young girls could achieve if they loved their hair, eyes, body, skin, etc etc. Perfect this way? Yes we are!