But Why Is Beauty The Ultimate Goal?

by Emma Cueto

Ladies and Gentlemen! Dove is back with a new video called "Patches," designed to make women buy Dove products. And this time they're highlighting — drumroll please — the placebo effect!

The new film comes after Dove's famous viral "Real Beauty Sketches" video from last year, and the subsequent films/ads "Selfie" and "Camera Shy." Much like the others, "Patches" just wants to make women feel good about themselves. The video features a group of women asked to participate in a "study" testing out a new product, a patch that makes women more beautiful. Cause that sounds legitimate, right? The results are predictable: even though the patch is a blatant fake, the women all begin to feel more beautiful.

There are a few things this ad does well. It features women of varying ages and ethnicities, for one thing, and it is getting at the important point that we women are our own worst critics.

The thing is, though, that this video, like those that preceded it, is still an ad, and an ad which reinforces the beauty-obsessed culture it seeks to tear down. Instead of saying that "It doesn't matter if you're beautiful or not; you can be amazing no matter what," these ads try to tell women that they're more beautiful than they think and that therefore it's all OK. And in some ways this ad is even worse than the ones that came before, because it's basically tricking women into feeling different about themselves. Yeah, no.

Dove might honestly have some good intentions here, or they might have just figured out that making women feel good about themselves is good business. But either way, this trend we have of reinforcing the idea that beauty is of some central importance to a woman's worth while simultaneously acting like this is some radical shift — that's getting annoying.

Here's hoping we someday live in a world where women aren't so conditioned to care about their looks that they don't need the placebo effect to feel good about themselves.

Image: Dove