Making a boob of themselves

06 July 2017 | Liz Bowen

Skincare brand Dove is no stranger to ‘real’ adverts and campaigns.

In fact, over the last couple of years it’s what the brand has become known for – using ‘real’ women, instead of models, in its ad campaigns to help promote a positive body image and ‘real beauty’ among the female population.

However, while universally praised for the majority of its campaigns – certainly, no-one can argue with the brand’s ethos – attempting to relate to the entire female population was never going to be without the occasional pitfall.

Back in May, our intern Liz wrote about how the company had come under fire following the release of a range of ‘body-shaped’ bottles to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

The bottles faced backlash with many calling the idea ‘ridiculous’ and some even calling the bottles with a shape meant to match theirs, hurtful.

Now, Dove and brand owner, Unilever, have been criticised again following their new adverts for Baby Dove and their perceived stance on breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a divisive subject at the best of times. Many new mums feel under pressure to breast feed their newborn and often face scorn from other mums if they don’t, or in some cases, even if they can’t. 

For those who choose to breastfeed and are able to, it’s no secret that breastfeeding in public is as equally divisive a topic as the act itself. Many believe women should be free to feed in public, others believe it should be more discreet.

An advert for the new campaign highlights these views, with a statement on the brand’s website reading: "So whether you're among the 66% who think that breastfeeding in public is fine, or the 34% who think otherwise, whatever choice you make, we are with you every step of the way."

This statement, and others included in the campaign, have come under fire for promoting the “dangerous view” that it is acceptable to criticise breastfeeding in public. A sentiment which non-profit organisation Baby Milk Action reiterated in a Facebook post, stating that discriminating against a woman on how she chooses to feed her child in public is actually illegal. 

Others have simply questioned how soap relates to feeding in general.

With many public companies and organisations, such as restaurants and supermarkets, publically pledging their support of breastfeeding in their venues, it does seem that Dove has made a bit of a boob with its current campaign.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but parents know what is best for their children. After all, as the saying goes, you never know what someone is going through.

I can’t imagine for a second that it’s a comfortable notion, essentially revealing yourself in a public place, but we’re hardly referring to a lewd act of flashing here.   

Sometimes, it’s hard to be real and while everyone has their own views, some things are just better left unsaid.