Dove Wants to Take Back Armpits for Feminism

What Women Really Think
Feb. 28 2014 5:14 PM

Dove Wants to Take Back Armpits for Feminism

armpits
If you've got 'em, flaunt 'em

Photo by Edyta Powlowska/Shutterstock

Armpits of the world, unite! Dove has unveiled its newest ad campaign and aimed it straight at your underarm. The company, known for using amateur models with “real bodies” (and also for soap), is turning its socially conscious gaze to the stigma around armpits, because armpits don’t just have stubble, they have feelings.

Conveniently, the crusade to empower the New Jersey of body parts coincides with the launch of Dove Advanced Care, a fresh line of deodorant.

“You can be a softer, smoother, more beautiful little armpit,” a woman in one spot informs her underarm, site of 500,000 disgusting sweat glands. “You deserve our best care ever, and don’t you ever forget that.”

Advertisement

And a billboard in the Garden State reads: “Dear New Jersey, When people call you ‘the Armpit of America,’ take it as a compliment. Sincerely, Dove.’”

The axilla, or underarm, may indeed be ripe for a rebranding. The hollow between the hinge where the arm meets the shoulder, it consists of an artery, a vein, part of the brachial plexus, five groups of lymph nodes, and pockets of fat and tissue. It is also kind of gross, because sweat does not evaporate off of it very efficiently. (A Dove marketing director told the New York Times, “when [women] think about their underarms, they think mostly of odor and wetness.”)

Yet like the unsung elbow and the defamed butt crack, the armpit can be authentically beautiful with the right product! That’s where Dove comes in. I just wish they had honored hairy, scaly pits as well as smooth ones, since it’s hard to celebrate something while simultaneously policing every detail of its appearance.

On the other hand, I’ve never really considered how my armpits look before, so thanks, Dove, for bringing this marginalized body part to my attention! Too bad I’m already busy “empowering” my hair with hair smoothers and my face with face creams and my nails with nail polish to fully participate in the grand, pricey quest to liberate women everywhere. Maybe next season. 

Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.