Dove slays stereotypes with its latest ad for Real Virtual Beauty

Dove slays stereotypes with its latest ad for Real Virtual Beauty

Dove continues to take a stand against misrepresentation in gaming with its latest film, and it doesn’t disappoint.

The story follows Cinthia, a video game character, who is seen slaying an alien enemy before fighting a much deeper battle—being her true self.

A refreshing and much-needed ‘before and after’, Cinthia goes from being the classic over-sexualised female avatar many of us have grown up seeing, to embracing her real body. No Tomb Raider-esque triangular boobs in sight.

In the latest instalment of its ‘Real Virtual Beauty’ campaign which launched in October last year, Dove aims to break down stereotypes after research revealed 60% of girls and 62% of women feel misrepresented in video games.

In true gaming style, it’s a co-op. A series of actions, supported by partners such as Epic Games’ Unreal Engine and Women in Games, are being taken by the brand to drive change in the industry. This includes a training programme to educate designers, creators and moderators about the beauty and diversity issues in gaming.

As we know, Dove’s quest to redefine beauty isn’t a new one—it began way back in 2004—and the way it has remained committed to the movement ever since is one of the many reasons I’m fan-girling over this campaign.

While ‘real beauty’ still remains the driving force, Dove has adapted as harmful beauty ideals and stereotypes sneak up on us in new places—with a shift from magazines and music videos to social media and the metaverse.

Another reason the campaign has stood the test of time is the focus on driving both action and awareness of the issue. It’s no longer enough to create noise around a problem, you have to help fix it too (or at least try).

Dove is not the only brand trying to ‘change the game’ of course. The Sims has rolled out a number of updates over the years to allow players to better represent themselves and not-for-profits including Black Girl Gamers and SpecialEffect are advocating diversity, inclusion and equity in the gaming sphere.

Beyond video games, the campaign has a deeper meaning for me. 

Whether you play games or not, many of us may put on an ‘armour’ while at work in the same way that Cinthia does - that could be a full face of make-up, a ‘phone voice’ or something a bit deeper. Who are you putting that armour on for and why? If it’s not for you, try taking it off for a day and see how you feel.

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