Charlotte Hannah
March 07, 2013

Dove’s Latest Attempt to Combat Body Shaming Is a Huge Fail (VIDEO)

Photo credit: Dove

Dove is known for two things: its generic bath products, and its somewhat ironic, long-running Real Beauty campaign. (The irony comes from the fact that Dove is owned by Unilever, which also owns Axe (known as Lynx in the UK) – a company not exactly known for its respectful treatment of women.

For the past decade, the company has been fighting against the media’s unrealistic and overly idealized portrayals of the female form by running ads featuring slightly less unrealistic and overly idealized portrayals of the female form than those normally seen in advertising. It has also taken on the beauty industry’s frequent use of Photoshop by releasing ads that show how big a difference photo editing can make in a model’s appearance.

Now, Dove is stepping up its game – by sneakily trying to sabotage unwitting Photoshop users to get their message across. The latest phase of the Real Beauty campaign for Dove Canada was devised by marketing firm Ogilvy Toronto and quietly released to the Internet, presumably in the hopes that its popularity would spread virally.

The company created a downloadable Photoshop action called Beautify, which was presented as a retouching tool that purported to add a “skin glow effect” to models. The tool was aimed at art directors, graphic designers and photo retouchers, and posted on “sites they already visit,” which apparently means Reddit. Here’s a screenshot of the Reddit post, which currently has no comments, three upvotes and two downvotes.

Photo credit:

But – wait for it – the tool doesn’t actually add a skin glow effect. No, my friends – we’ve been duped. The Beautify action actually reverts a modified image back to its original form and adds a message from Dove scolding the user for “manipulating our perceptions of real beauty.” For shame, body shamers! I bet this minor annoyance brought to you by a hypocritical company will teach you to rethink your decision to portray women unrealistically!

Reports describe the tool as “ineffective.” Even so, I wonder what it could do to an image like this one:

Or this one!