dove bottles in body shapes

Screengrab via Dove UK/YouTube

Dove’s new body-type bottles are getting dunked on by feminist memes

Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes—and so do dank memes about Dove.


Jay Hathaway

Internet Culture

Posted on May 8, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 3:09 pm CDT

The marketing geniuses behind Dove’s “Real Women, Real Beauty” campaign have extended their theme of making all their customers feel beautiful to their packaging designs, dropping a series of body wash bottles in various shapes meant to represent diverse body types. As you might expect, “Real Beauty Bottles” is backfiring pretty hard.

The campaign is ostensibly meant to unify and support women, so dividing customers into a handful of body types isn’t exactly going over well:

The only thing redeeming the campaign is the potential it creates for some very dank social criticism in the form of—what else?—memes on Twitter. Many of them are by women who feel irritated and patronized by Dove’s over-the-top marketing efforts. Some are by dudes who spotted an opportunity for comedy and jumped on the bandwagon because, well, dudes just can’t help themselves.

One overarching theme of these gags is that normalizing seven body types isn’t that much better than normalizing one. What if you’re more of an Edward Scissorhands or a Mrs. Butterworth? Does Dove not want your business? Yes, these are funny jokes, but there’s truth to them: In an attempt to embrace all customers, the company has made many feel dehumanized.

Much like “real beauty comes in all shapes and sizes,” so does the criticism of Dove. Some women haven’t forgiven the company for the condescension of its previous campaigns:

Others point out that, in our fun, corporatist society, there’s basically no means of consumption that benefits women anyway, so please stop trying to co-opt feminism for capitalist gain:

Weird. It’s like women are individuals with a multiplicity of ideas, and not just bodies that can be divided into a set of general shapes.

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*First Published: May 8, 2017, 3:48 pm CDT