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Ask any woman to name beauty brands that embrace real women’s bodies and it’s almost guaranteed that ‘Dove’ will be on her list.  But the popular company is facing backlash from some customers who say that Dove’s latest advertisement is racist.

The ad in question is for Dove’s Visible Care body wash line, recently seen in magazines across the country. In the ad, there are three women- one black, one possibly Latina and one white. The women are arranged from dark to light and stand in front of two images: one labeled “before” showing cracked, dry skin and the other labeled “after” showing smooth, healthy skin.

Advertising blog, Copyranter, first posted the ad under the title, “Dove body wash turns Black Women into Latino Women into White Women.” Not long after, The Huffington Post and Jezebel both picked up on the “unintentionally(?) racist” ad, with Jezebel adding: “Bye-bye black skin, hello white skin! (Scrub hard!)

The advertisement comes quite out of character for the brand, which is widely seen as an industry leader for its “Real Women, Real Beauty” campaign. For years, Dove has purposely sought to include non-traditional models in its advertising, featuring (faux gasp) women who didn’t fit into sample sizes. Given the brand’s history of celebrating women of all shapes and shades, it’s hard to believe that it would put together this ‘dark to light’ ad with ill intent.

But the uproar over the ad does leave Dove facing some tough questions: by posing a black woman under a picture of cracked skin labeled “before” is the brand subtly, even unknowingly, suggesting that lighter skin, preferably white skin is the beauty standard to aspire to?

What do you think of the Dove ‘Visible Care’ ad? Is the dark to light arrangement of the women show racism or are criticizers simply reading too much into it? Share your thoughts Clutchettes- weigh in!

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