Inclusivity, Intent, and Dove's Racist Advertising

Inclusivity, Intent, and Dove's Racist Advertising

Dove's problematic advertisement is receiving backlash all over the internet.
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Many Brands have taken it upon themselves to become more inclusive of all people in their advertising campaigns; however, all progress comes with many setbacks, and it just so happens that many of these setbacks are racist in context. Dove, Shea Moisture, and Pepsi to name a few of the brands who are responsible for problematic advertising, have all spoken out against the ads they previously posted stating that it wasn’t their intention to make a racist advertisement, but the damage had already been done making these textbook examples of intention versus impact.

Perhaps Dove did make the mistake they claimed to not realize was a mistake, but this is a spilt milk situation or maybe a chocolate-milk situation. The advertisement that Dove recently released on Facebook depicts a Woman of Color removing her shirt and as the shirt is removed a Caucasian woman appears where the Woman of Color once was, and during the entire advertisement a Dove bottle was placed in the lower right-hand corner. At first glance this seems harmless, but that is only if someone is oblivious to the history of skin whitening and the desire for fair skin by using bleach and cleaning products as an attempt to wash away melanin.

There is a dark history in America of fair skin being preferred over darker skin, of course racism is a factor in this, but specifically speaking about the Black community and internalized racism this advertisement plays upon that preference. The desire to have fair skin is one constructed in a society that favors people who possess this ineffectual trait, and in the recent Dove advertisement this fallacious desire for fair skin is fully depicted. The context of skin whitening and the preference for fair skin is a phenomenon that is talked about frequently in the black community, which is my main concern for the advertisement because it not only reveals how oblivious Dove is but it also may suggest that no people of color were involved in the creation process of the advertisement other than the actor of color included in the beginning, who seems annoyed that the advertisement was being misinterpreted.

How could a brand that preaches about inclusivity not employ people whom they are trying to include? Shea Moisture is another brand responsible for the same misstep, and it’s troubling to think that this will not be the last time a story of this caliber, so what is the solution to this problem? Ironically, the solution is the exact purpose of the advertisements in the first place, diversity, not just on camera but behind the camera and all throughout an organization. If certain voices are left out of a conversation and only present to save face issues such as this advertisement will continue to occur.

The advertisement “missed its mark” as placed by Dove execs who apologized for the ad, but that doesn’t free them for what they did. In situation such as this where intent differs from impact it seems only fair to forgive those who committed the transgression, but it’s not that simple when the issue harms other in the process. Intent is inconsequential when dealing with the impact of that action. Dove’s apology is far from change they are empty words, and this is something observed by many twitter users who have planned to boycott Dove for the time being.

Dove apologized for the offensive advertisement, but what will they actually do to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future?

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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Analyzing The Infamous 'U Up?' Text

Men still haven't come up with anything better.

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Late at night men gain a confidence that no one can quite explain. The dry spell of Monday through Thursday finally ends as Friday approaches and women's phones start going off with the "u up?" text.

The explanation could be that men are doing this just to use you, but if we dig a little deeper and ask why do men suddenly gain the confidence to text women late at night versus during the week or during the day, then maybe we will have a better understanding of the man behind the "u up?" text.

The term "Saturdays are for the boys" has become wildly popular and men have taken it quite literally until all of their boys have left the bars with their girlfriends or other girls and now he is sitting there alone feeling like the only guy who didn't go home with a girl. You pop into his mind, but it's desperate "u up?" text. He isn't texting you to see you because he misses you or because he wants to get to know you better at three A.M.

Men are nervous and don't want to be rejected so once the weekend rolls around and a little liquid confidence hits their system they may feel compelled to finally reach out to you if they have been nervous to do so all week. The "u up?" text may be the first thing his nervous thumbs can type out before he decides it's a bad idea and doesn't send anything at all. If you don't respond he may instantly regret it in the morning when he realizes he may have blown his chances with you for good.

Ultimately any man that decides to send you a "u up?" text should probably not be your first choice to bring home to mom, but you can't be truly sure of his motives until you analyze the situation. Don't judge a book by its cover or a man by his "u up?" text.

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