GRSJ 300 Cultural Jam Assignment

The original ad is one by Dove, which is a company that produces personal care products such as soaps and body washes. The problem I will be addressing with my jamming is on both gender and race. From the gender side, the ad’s problem is only using women as models for this personal care product ad as if only women need to pay attention to their skins. I believe men should also be the target buyers of Dove products because men also have skins and they can also develop skin related issues, such as itchiness caused by dryness. From the race side, the ad’s problem is matching a woman model with a darker skin tone to the “before” board behinds her and matching a woman model with a lighter skin tone to the “after” board behinds her, which imply that all women want to have lighter skin tones and women will have lighter skin tones if they use this Dove product in shower. Moreover, among the three women models, the one with the lightest skin color smiles big and shows a higher level of self-confidence. I think it represents a race issue because the ad may lead the viewers to think that women with darker skins are less beautiful and less confident and it is better to be white than black. Therefore, the ad is problematic from both the race perspective and the gender perspective. Like men will not be judged as more or less appealing based on their skin colours, women should also not be judged based on their skin colours. As body washes are expected to be used to clean skins and make skins smooth, skin colours should not be included as an important element in such an ad.

I altered the original ad in the following three ways to highlight its absurdity. Firstly, I highlighted and enlarged the two contrastive words, “before” and “after”, to attract more attention from the viewers. Secondly, I added three men to surround the woman model with the lightest skin tone among the three to emphasize her attractiveness to men, which contrasts with the absent of men around the two woman models with darker skin tones. The alternation stresses on the race matter and expresses the idea that white women are wanted more than women with darker skins. Thirdly, I inserted a line to the ad, which says “to get your skin to be bright and white, use DOVE!” It highlights the ad’s absurdity because the Dove body wash should not aim to make people’s skins bright and white because body washes are not whitening creams. In a nutshell, I think the beauty standard of preferring lighter skin is incorrect and women with darker skin tones should not be discriminated. Some women are born with darker skin tones. They should not be looked down upon because they did not do anything wrong and they should not feel less confident than people with lighter skin tones either. The ad should not imply that women could potentially have bigger smiles, higher levels of confidence, and whiter skin tones after they purchased and used the Dove body wash. Moreover, the ad should target all genders, instead of women, and the ad should target all races, instead of women with darker skin tones.

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