The Backlash Against the Backlash Against the Dove Advertisement

There’s now a backlash against the backlash against the latest Dove advertisement. The first backlash reverberated around the world, including – naturally – in South Africa… with many people outraged that Dove could be so thoughtless as to show a black woman using Dove soap and becoming a white woman.

Although the implication was not intentional – and in fact the advert went on to show the white woman becoming an Asian woman… and in the full version had seven women, ending with the final one being British-Nigerian black model Lola Ogunyemi again – Dove was still criticised for not thinking about how it could be interpreted by black women.

702/Cape Talk radio presenter Eusebius McKaiser explained: “The intention is not the be all and the end all in analysing any form of implicit bias.”

Now, there’s a backlash against the backlash. Here are a couple of South African responses, as well as the Dove Model’s response herself…

From Radio Presenter and Comedian Viv Vermaak:

Vivposted this photo and called it “Hadeda! The soap for people who don’t use dove.”

By Viv Vermaak

Viv says: “The people who are angry at ‘Dove’ are right – for the wrong reasons. They are misidentifying who is being discriminated against. Thus. just 5 minutes ago, I started a soap brand to rival Dove – ‘Hadeda’. It’s a bit harsh, but it does the job. I even did the logo and package design. (Must I do everything myself….) I’ll be sneaking time off work tomorrow to do a short YouTube video on my Stoep and tell Dove to ‘catch-a-wake-up.”
Please watch out for it tomorrow afternoon and share in this life-changing revolutionary product. Thanking you in advance. (Hadeda Soap, Copyright pending.) #vivsestoep #goingsomewherewithviv”

Follow Viv Vermaak here.

Renaldo Gouws Posted This on The Dove Advert:

Dove Model, Lola Ogunyemi:

Writing in The Guardian newspaper in the UK yesterday, Lola said the ad was “misinterpreted” and that Dove’s intentions were not divisive. She said the post on Facebook was too short to provide context and it was never meant to be a “before” and “after” advert.

It was meant to “use our differences to highlight the fact that all skin deserves gentleness”. Lola acknowledged a “lack of trust” amongst the public after the beauty industry has engaged in ‘racist ads’ for decades, such as those for skin-lightening products for decades.

She explained that was one of the reasons she was thrilled to take part in the Dove ad and have the “opportunity to represent my dark-skinned sisters… to remind the world that we are here, we are beautiful, and more importantly, we are valued.”

Lola said she loved the first 13-second video clip that featured her, a white woman and an Asian woman. “My friends and family loved it. People congratulated me for being the first to appear, for looking fabulous, and for representing Black Girl Magic. I was proud.” She said she felt the same about the full 30-second version and was so proud to be featured at the start and the end.

After Dove apologised and pulled the advert, Lola said: “While I agree with Dove’s response to unequivocally apologise for any offense caused, they could have also defended their creative vision, and their choice to include me, an unequivocally dark-skinned black woman, as a face of their campaign. I am not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign. I am strong, I am beautiful, and I will not be erased.”

Read Lola’s full post here: