Racism is one of the most controversial topics in America and other places around the world. For many decades, the issue has been widely discussed in the fields of politics, religion, and education. However, the situation has worsened with more covert misrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities in films, television shows, books, music, and advertisements. A 2017 advertisement released by Dove through Facebook promoted racism through its misrepresentation of African American women as lacking in beauty. It featured three women removing their shirts sequentially to reveal the results of using the company’s body lotion.
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As seen above, the black woman turns into a white woman after using the Dove body lotion. The image has two main sources of dissatisfaction. First, it shows that being white is the ultimate yardstick for defining beauty: white skin is preferable to dark skin. Second, the transformation of the African American lady into a white woman after using the product is disconcerting. The message passed along by the image is that people are judged by the color of their skin, and a light skin tone is better than a dark one. The product helps the dark-skinned woman to cleanse herself and become white, thus downplaying the fact that beauty is diverse. It also shows that there is something wrong with African Americans that needs fixing through the use of the product. On the surface, it shows that users of the product enjoy its transforming benefits. However, it has a deeper racial message that expresses the inferiority of African Americans and the superiority of whites. It secretly urges the supposedly inferior group to use the product so that it can gain a superior status.
The creators of the advertisement were insensitive and disregarded the probability that the content would aggravate some people. They were more concerned about promoting and selling their product rather than showing the diversity of beauty and how it can be promoted using their product. The creator of the advertisement should have refrained from showing the transition of the black lady into a white woman. Rather, she should have been shown to attain smoother, shinier, and healthier skin after using the product. The contrast should have been minimal and within the boundaries of respectful advertising that is directed toward racially diverse audiences. The creator could also have shown how dark skin becomes a shade lighter after using the product. The transformation from dark skin to white skin is unbelievable and offensive.
The message was chosen for this project because racism is a serious issue in the United States that has far-reaching social, psychological, and political consequences if handled recklessly. Diversity is a challenge in schools, communities, and workplaces. Advertisers and creators of content for the media should strive to promote the diversity of beauty through their work and avoid depicting the superiority or inferiority of racial groups. Sensitivity and fairness are needed in the representation of minority groups.