Forever Misguided, Dove Wants to Know Why You're So ‘Camera Shy’


“Why are women so camera shy?” I dunno, maybe because we don’t want to look pleasingly pretty just because you want us to? Because we’re constantly asked to smile on command, even at work and by complete strangers on the street, and called “bitch” if we’re not in the mood? Because we don’t feel like performing right this second? Do you really have to ask? Dove — the personal care brand hell-bent on making you realize how gorgeous you are and how important it is to be gorgeous — does, naturally. The company has reached a new low with this ad, which induces the same slimy-ragey sensation as being cat-called.

The ad, which apparently won big at Cannes because of what I can only call THE PATRIARCHY, depicts little girls thrilled to be captured on film contrasted with older women, who are not as pleased to have a camera shoved in their unsuspecting face.

“When did you stop thinking you were beautiful?” Dove asks. Uh, never? But little girls are hams — just ask my long-suffering parents, who were forced to watch me reenact Hocus Pocus every evening in the living room (I played Winnifred) — while adults are often too busy to drop everything to look charming on cue. Yet, women are often expected to do just that. Just because you don’t want your picture taken doesn’t mean you’re walking around with a bag over your head.

Dove’s forensic sketch artist advertisement bothered me less than this one does, but the gist remains the same: you’re not valuable if you’re not beautiful. This ad goes one step further: you’re not valuable if you’re not lovely and laughing and smiling and super pleasant 24/7, for the enjoyment of people watching you, like a little girl instead of a grown woman.

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