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This ad is intended to promote the German brand, Nivea’s ‘Invisible for Black and White’ deodorant. It shows a woman sitting on a bed in a brightly lit, tidy room with the caption ‘White is Purity’. While we cannot see her face, due to her hair color and texture we can make the assumption that she is white. What is very problematic about the advertisement is that it states “White is Purity”. Even if it is was not intentional, and the meaning is purely for the deodorant that claims to cause no stains, the slogan appears to be very racist and I am shocked that it got released. The two main problems I see with this ad that it is racially insensitive, as well as can oppress women by putting the standard of ‘purity’ on them that defines their worth.
Nivea eventually did withdraw this advertisement; however this was after much backlash as people blamed the company for being racist. Unsurprisingly, several white supremist groups were supporters of this ad (Wang, 2017). These groups felt empowered by this ad, and thanked Nivea for ‘taking their side’. This is very harmful as it reinforces the messages these white supremist groups are taking while putting down other races.
This ad also promotes the message that ‘purity’ should be the standard for women. This standard can make women feel ashamed of their sexuality. This represses women and puts societal standards on them that makes them feel bad about their own personal choices they make. This reinforces the negative labels that women are often given for engaging in sexual activity.
Saying that ‘White is Purity’ can reinforce the negative stereotype of Black women as sexual beings. Black women are often sexualized in the media, for example in hip hop and rap songs. By saying “White is Purity’, it is implying that Black women lack purity. Black women have to face intersectionality as they actively struggle against both racial and sexual oppression.
In this alteration I desired to change the racially and gender insensitive message this ad sent. Instead, I altered it to reveal a powerful message about race and intersectionality. In this alteration I replaced the “White is Purity” slogan with “White Privilege is Real”. First of all, I found it very important to get rid of this slogan as it appears very racist. As well, I added the ‘privilege is real’ as I wanted to evoke the message that white privilege needs to be recognized by everyone in society in order to combat it. I decided to take away the ‘purity’ part by crossing out it so it is still visible. I wanted it still to be visible but crossed out, so the viewer can think about how this standard can hurt women.
I also added in the statement “END THE STEREOTYPES” in bright bold red at the top of the picture. I chose the color red for this statement to draw attention to this important message. My aim with this statement was to combat the stereotypes portraying black women as sexual beings that are often present in the media. This statement is intended to make the viewer think about how Black women are represented in a negative light, and why this needs to be changed.
I decided to darken the background, so everything did not seem so bright and white. I wanted to create a different mood that revealed the racist truth of the message being promoted.
I hope that my alteration helps the viewer think more about the advertisement and the message that it is conveying. My alteration seeks to help the reader think about and understand how gender and race intersect, and how we can change this.
Wang, A. (2017, April 5). Nivea’s ‘White is Purity’ ad campaign didn’t end well. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2017/04/05/niveas-white-is-purity-ad-campaign-didnt-end-well/?utm_term=.5162894418f2