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05 JULY 2014

A Feminist Analysis of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

Abstract: "Drawing from several areas of research, this thesis explores the ways in which Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty appropriates feminist themes to sell beauty products, to the detriment of female consumers. Advertising and marketing have long held the power to create, shape, and reinforce cultural norms, and for years, advertisers have been able to propagate and strengthen gender stereotypes. Though there has been a push since the late 1990s to stem the flow of sexist and potentially dangerous advertising messages about women's bodies, ads still disseminate harmful messages that contribute to the further sexualization and oppression of women in the United States. Dove is just one of the many female–targeted brands that claim to hold progressive, woman–positive ideals, while still selling products intended to make women more beautiful–supposedly the ultimate goal for any modern female. While the campaign professes a desire to increase confidence and self–esteem for women and girls around the globe, it promotes a post–feminist, consumerist agenda that actually reinforces what Naomi Wolf titled 'the beauty myth'. Linguistic and visual analyses of Dove's print and viral marketing tactics within the contexts of advertising, feminism, and consumer culture reveal that instead of 'redefining' beauty, the Dove campaign is, in actuality, reinforcing decades–old ideology about women's appearance and status in society."

(Caitlin McCleary, 2014)

McCleary, Caitlin M., "A Not–So–Beautiful Campaign: A Feminist Analysis of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty" (2014). University of Tennessee Honors Thesis Projects. http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_chanhonoproj/1691

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TAGS

2013advertising campaignanxietyappropriationbeauty industrybeauty productsbody imageco-optionconsumer culturecultural normsdepictions of womendissertationDove (brand) • Dove Real Beauty Sketches (2013) • drawingemotional responseemotive manipulationempowerment themeevocative advertisingfemale consumerfemale-targeted brandsfeminist analysisfeminist themesgender stereotypesgendered brands • honours thesis • marketing campaign • Naomi Wolf • physical appearancepost-feminist agenda • real beauty • Real Beauty (campaign) • redefining beauty • self-criticism • self-esteemself-perceptionsexualisation • sketch artist • sketching • The Beauty Myth (1990) • Unilever • University of Tennessee • viralviral adviral advertisingviral marketing tactics

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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