Haute Topic: Dove’s misguided feminism

Dove wants you to be a nice.

Dove wants you to be a nice girl – the type who says something positive or doesn’t say anything at all. The brand recently launched its latest campaign, dubbed #SpeakBeautiful, to change the way women speak online. 

According to the skin care brand, over 5 million negative “beauty tweets” (whatever that means) were posted by women in 2014. Dove also posted stats on how many times words like “ugly,” “hideous, “gross” and “dislike” were tweeted during and following the Oscars’ red carpet. 

Sure, online bullying is a serious issue – and so is helping women feel more confident about their bodies in a world that all too often seeks to control and shame them. However, perpetuating the idea that women should be nice and polite, serving up ideas about themselves and others with a smile, is problematic. 

I remind Dove that women still struggle to overcome this same obstacle to equality in the workplace. Women who criticize or push for better results are seen as aggressive, bossy or even mean. Men who exhibit the same behaviours are ambitious, have high standards and are worthy of promotion. 

The message shouldn’t be to “look beautiful” or #SpeakBeautiful, it should be to screw harmful beauty and behaviour ideals altogether. Look how you want. Speak how you want. Don’t try to be perfect or a size 6 or nice for any other reason than that’s what you want to be. 

Certainly not because some mega-brand told you to.

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