Dove incites outrage after ad against “overly sexualized women” in games backfires

Michael Gwilliam
dove ad against sexualized female game characters

Dove is facing backlash after a new ad opposing “overly sexualized women” as video game characters wasn’t well-received.

On May 11, ‘The Drum’ posted a video to Twitter and YouTube showing a female video game character defeat a monster and then retire to her “dressing room” to remove her armor.

Upon doing so, it’s revealed that the character isn’t as thin as she appears in-game. Eventually, she decides to re-enter the battlefield dressed as she actually looks, slamming the door behind her and knocking down a poster of her “sexy” self.

The ad then claims that “74% of girls feel underrepresented in video games” and Dove wishes to change this. However, despite the viral ad’s seemingly good intentions, it’s faced widespread criticism.

Dove ad against “sexualized” female characters faces backlash

After the ad was posted, numerous gamers of different genders voiced their displeasure with it, with quite a few commenters claiming they enjoy playing games as “sexy” females.

“So as a female gamer myself, it seems you want us to play as unattractive, dumpy-looking female characters. I don’t think so,” one commented with a gif of Street Fighter’s Chun-Li.

Male gamers, meanwhile, brought up how masculine characters don’t seem to be an issue for them. “In my three decades of gaming, I’ve never seen a single male character that looked like me. Hasn’t stopped me,” someone replied.

“ACTUAL female gamers never asked for this. Stop asking ideologues what they want and pretending like you asked female gamers. I like my escapism as just that, escapism,” blasted another.

Forbes writer Eric Kain also chimed in. “Like movies, video games often portray powerful, fit people because they’re power fantasies. I don’t want my body type represented in a video game. I want to play as someone stronger, faster, better-looking (or as a woman, or an alien or a robot or whatever.”

So far, Dove hasn’t responded to the backlash over the ad, which has incited quite the conversation online regarding body representation in games.

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