Why Do Women With Curls Think They Need Straight Hair To Be Beautiful?


Many of us women probably grew up knowing that one friend (or perhaps it was us!) who was always so insecure about her curly hair. And we would often look at them and secretly wish we actually had her hair, right? Why is there such an inherent culture of “I want what she’s got” and how does it start at such a young age?

Dove’s latest advertisement based on a study about girls with curly hair examines exactly that.

“Only 4 out of 10 curly haired girls think their hair is beautiful,” the video states. Dove conducted a survey of 859 women in the U.S., U.K. and Brazil in September 2014. Only 10 percent of women respondents in the U.S. said they “feel proud” of their curly hair.

The first 5 girls we see in the video, ranging in ages from 6-11 all say how much they dislike their hair, how much they would prefer straight hair and how it makes them sad they have curls.

Like many of their studies and campaigns of late, Dove are tapping into the power of the adult influence and issuing a callout.

“The best way to change how they feel about their curls is to show them how you feel about yours,” the video states.

Then we see the moms gather up their daughters and take them to a building where a band is waiting (and all the members of course also have curly hair) to sing and dance with the young girls to show them how much they love their curls so that they get the message loud and clear.

It is certainly a feel-good video and shot in the brilliant warm, fuzzy way we are familiar with when it comes to Dove advertisements.

“The Dove Hair: Love Your Curls film reveals an important issue, and Dove Hair has a responsibility to take that finding and instigate positive social change,” said Rob Candelino, VP of marketing for haircare at Unilever to Adweek.


“One of our most profound research findings was that girls with curly hair are seven times more likely to love their curls if those around them do—this proves we can help make an impact by encouraging women to love and embrace their curls, setting a positive example for girls in their lives.”

“The campaign was crafted with an emphasis on encouraging all women to embrace their individual curl type and texture, regardless of race or ethnicity,” he replied after Adweek asked whether they were specifically targeting certain ethnicities as the video features a lot of African-American and mixed-race families.

“Beauty, confidence and self-esteem are wide and far-reaching topics. Dove believes that every woman has the opportunity to make a difference in a girl’s life and have a positive impact on her self-confidence”

It’s easy to look at the media, fashion, entertainment and advertising and get the message that straight, sleek, thin, and Caucasian is the beauty ideal. If the current generation of adolescent girls are still forming the same insecurities as woman have been doing for decades, the problem and solution doesn’t just rest with the parents.

Sure it is admirable that Dove are focusing on the powerful impact parents and families can have on a young girl’s self esteem, but it is enough? At what point does the media take responsibility for what they portray?

What Dove is doing is showing the rest of the industry that you don’t need to compromise or trample on a woman’s self-esteem to sell a product. In fact they are becoming the leaders in “femvertising” which is something a lot of other brands such as Under Armour, Always and Pantene are copying because it is working.

Promoting uniformity and conformity is a thing of the past when it comes to marketing. Segregational labels are no longer what we want to see. We live in a digital age saturated with knowledge available at our finger tips, and it is time the voice of the consumer dictated how advertising campaigns are created.

Here’s to more brands created campaigns that teach a whole generation of girls that beauty products won’t make them better or more beautiful, it will enhance the perfection that is already existent within them.

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