As we have learned in class, transparency is defined as “behavior as conduct that presumes openness in communication and serves a reasonable expectation of forthright exchange when parties have a legitimate stake in the possible outcomes of effects of the sending or receiving of the message. It is an attitude of proactive moral engagement that manifests an express concern for the persons-as-ends principle when a degree of deception or omission can reasonably be said to risk thwarting the receiver’s due dignity or the ability to exercise reason” (Plaisance, 2014), or in simpler terms, to be transparent you are open and bearing no secrets.
Dove is known to be one of the most favored and cherished brands there is, for they speak perfectly to each and every one of their target markets. In the past decade, their Campaign for Real Beauty movement has gone viral numerous times on several different social networking sites. Their commercials, advertisements, and promotional speaking all are known to cheer women up about their bodies, saying that all women are beautiful—no matter their shape, size, race, age, etc. They have also been highly praised in not Photoshopping their ads or their models as compared to other companies and brands that are claimed to do so.
Personally, I have always liked Dove’s outlook and Real Beauty campaign only because it’s something different and refreshing from typical beauty products’ messages. After reading the case in point in our textbook about the Campaign for Real Beauty not being real, it’s unclear what Dove was trying to do in their advertising efforts. When questioned, they denied the fact that the pictures were altered sticking to their duty of, “Dove’s mission is to make more women feel beautiful every day by widening the definition of beauty and inspiring them to take great care of themselves. Dove strives to portray women by accurately depicting their shape, size, skin color and age…’let’s be perfectly clear — Pascal does all kinds of work – but he is primarily a printer – and only does retouching when asked to. The idea for Dove was very clear at the beginning. There was to be NO retouching and there was not,” confirmed Annie Leibovitz, commenting on the ProAge campaign” (Bercovici, 2008).
It’s unclear what the true story is behind the controversy, but I have to say if Dove really did alter their photos, I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world. Yes, they preach the idea of real beauty and how women’s views of beauty are all distorted and meanwhile they are seen to be distorting their women too. I think what’s worse in this case is Dove lying about it if it’s true. If they did alter their photos, all they have to do is own up to it, and not be seen fraudulent in the topic of transparency.
Bercovici, J. (2008). Dove: we didn’t airbrush our lumpy ladies. UpStart Business Journal. Retrieved from http://upstart.bizjournals.com/companies/media/2008/05/09/dove-we-didnt- airbrush-our-lumpy-ladies.html?page=all
Plaisance, P. (2009). Media ethics: Key principles for responsible practice (pp. 84-86). Los Angeles: SAGE.