I was reading Lyndsay‘s post “Exemplary Video” that discuses the use of camera angles and langueage in a short YouTube film, made by the Dove Cooperation.  At the end of her post, Lyndsay links to another video by Dove, addressing inner beauty. I followed her hyperlink, and thought, “Ah, yes, what good messages this company is advocating. Beauty comes from within, and we must teach our ‘girls’ this message.”

Ok, so after I sat back and pondered and then I noticed a YouTube link to a video that looked very similar.  The film started with the same shot, a young girl in the center of the screen.  Only in this other film the young girl does not have white skin or blue eyes…  I clicked, I watched, I listened.


Lyndsey states her intent to use the Dove films in her health class to teach identity.  Indeed, Dove films are valuable teaching tools.  During my Middle-Years Teacher Education Degree, with it’s focus on social justice, Dove films have surfaced often as positive examples of ways to promote positive self-concept.  However, the films are, as well, one means with which I will teach my students the skill of Questioning the Author

I can not teach my students to become socially responsive learners if they are not critical of what they read, listen to, or watch.  Engaged citizenship demands that my teaching be rich in critique.  My middle-years learners will benefit from learning that beauty comes from within, but they will own this message when they discover that though there are people who try to sell outer beauty, there too are those who commodity inner beauty.  The real lesson here is having students take responsibility for the beauty they offer humanity.  It is because students lack a global perceptive not necessarily a global ownership, it is “No wonder our perceptive of beauty is distorted.”

Below is the Dove film, Beauty Pressure.  Next is the GREENPEACE film, Onslaught(er), that spurred this post…

5 thoughts on “Dove(D)

  1. I had screened both of these videos in looking for some exemplary filmmaking. I think Dove is trying to send a very important message to all women about how our perception of beauty is held up to an impossible and unrealistic standard. I like these films because there is not a single product placement shot in the whole thing. These short films are made for the benefit of getting women to think about their relationship to media, and how beauty is packaged and sold to women as though they are imperfect and require many products or surgeries or diets to evolve into perfection.

    Greenpeace is indeed exploiting the irony of Dove’s manufacturing practices – but I think it’s a low blow considering they could go after literally hundreds of other cosmetics manufacturers who also use palm oil in their products. The could in fact team up with PETA, and lambaste the number of cosmetics companies who use palm oil AND test their products on animals.

    Dove’s business is to sell cosmetics – that is what they do. They have found a niche in the beauty advertising market that is dominated by airbrushed celebrities selling sex as much as they sell product. Greenpeace is in the business of drawing attention to the destruction of the environment – using a variety of salacious and propagandist tactics, and the smug cynicism of their “Onslaughter” video response kind of makes me a little mad…

    I’m not sure where I was headed with this…but I definitely appreciate your willingness to expose your students to multiple perspectives, and to ask them to think critically.

    Good post!

  2. Bottom line, Dove is in the business of making money. The company may glamorize positive self image but they are themselves, a cooperation who destroys environments to further its own profit margins. For this very reason Greenpeace needed to draw attention to Dove’s questionable business practices. The real question regarding doves use of an ethical message to further their unethical goals is does the end justify the means?

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