This Dove ad shows a before and after up-close of skin. The “before” looks dry and flaky, while the “after” looks healthy and moisturized. Standing in front of the “before” is a black woman, in front of the “after” is a white woman, and in between the two is a woman of a more ambiguous racial identity The ad came under scrutiny for the seemingly premeditated placement of the models by skin color, although Dove asserted that this was completely unintentional.
What message about race can be extracted from the placement of the models?
What conclusions can we draw about the ad industry considering that this ad made it to print? What might we infer about the backgrounds of those who produced the image? Is it fair to make such assumptions?