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Dove’s #LoveYourHair Misses the Target

Dove’s #LoveYourHair Misses the Target


As a brand, Dove is becoming well known for their positive commercials that encourage women to accept themselves. Last year their #LoveYourCurls campaign became a viral hit resulting in the subsequent launch of a keyboard of curly haired emojis and added attention to their Dove Quench products. Yesterday, Dove launched a new campaign that aims to challenge conventional beauty norms by reminding us that beautiful hair is not singularly defined, but instead is an expression of self.

The #LoveYourHair campaign, complete with a 75 second film showcasing the stories of real women, comes in response to a study commissioned by Dove last year. The study found that 86% of US women believe media and society places pressure on them to have their hair look a certain way, and as such, this makes most of them feel their hair isn’t beautiful.

“Dove believes that all women are beautiful. We work to help women see their hair as a source of confidence that never holds them back. The Dove #LoveYourHair initiative is designed to celebrate all the wonderful, real life stories of women who choose to quiet these outside pressures and wear their hair the way they themselves feel most beautiful and confident.” said Rob Candelino, Unilever VP of Marketing and General Manager of Hair Care.

#LoveYourHair will showcase and celebrate all hair types, textures, style and colors–aiming to broaden the definition of beautiful hair but is this new wave of social campaigns a hollow trend?

Earlier this month Shea Moisture released their #BreakTheWalls campaign and while it started conversations among consumers little has changed inside stores. While shoppers have now reported finding Shea Moisture products in the beauty aisle, they are also reporting that the ethnic hair section still remains. Three weeks isn’t enough time to gauge the effectiveness of a campaign but Dove’s #LoveYourHair campaign rings hollow after viewing the film.

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Photo of Issa Rae

#LoveYourHair fails to address the elephant in the room. The politics of  Black women’s hair. In the last few months there have been article after article of young girls being suspended from school because their natural hair is considered to be either a distraction or “unkempt, untidy, un-groomed”. Women are being sent home from work because their hair doesn’t lie flat and isn’t viewed as professtional. Not to mention the number of unreported stories of employment discrimination. Just last week a TMZ journalist criticized his colleagues for stereotyping singer, The Weekend on his hair care regimen for his dreadlocks. Yet, the #LoveYourHair film ignores these very recent incidents–and the only Black women seen are flashing women whose story and voice remain unfeatured.

It isn’t “me” who has to be told to love my hair. It’s society that needs to learn to “LoveOurHair”.


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