Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign has seen its fair share of backlash for condescending to and manipulating women. But mockery of the most recent ad, “Patches,” most perfectly encapsulates everything that is irritating about Dove’s award-winning efforts.
In “Patches,” women are given a “beauty patch” to wear for two weeks and told to keep a video diary. After wearing the “medicine” for a while, the participants report feeling more confident and wonderful, only to later find out that the patch was just a plain old sticker. (Ha ha! See? Beauty comes from the inside!)
Not one of the women reacts with rage, nor did any of them suspect that a beauty patch could be fake, which seems highly unrealistic, as many critics have pointed out. The Cut called it garbage; Jezebel called it “their most bullshit yet.”
The outrage is deserved, and this parody from the comedy troupe Above Average best gets at why the campaign is so insulting. “The Real Beauty mirror test” also “tricks” women, showing them a gorilla instead of their faces when they look into a “mirror.” “You look in the mirror and what you see is a disgusting zoo animal,” says the Dove narrator. “But is that the real you?” Like normal human beings with brains, the women don’t fall for it.
Even as the participants walk out, scream, and insist they don’t think they look like “disgusting zoo animals,” the Dove psychologist insists that they have “no idea.” You know, because women who think they’re ugly are also clueless.
It’s the closing where the spot reaches Dove parody perfection. “You fell for our weird psychology experiment and it showed you you’re not an actual hideous monster, so where is our Nobel Peace Prize or whatever?”