Avon Canada apologises for "dimples are cute on your face" but "not on your thighs" ad that offended many

A group of women with different body types
A group of women with different body types

This year has kicked off with the likes of Gillette making an effort to drive a positive message across to their customers, while global beauty brand Avon Cosmetics took the body positivity movement 10 steps back with their anti-cellulite products. 

READ MORE: Gillette ad backlash shows how men apparently don't like being encouraged to do better

The ad in question was seen on Avon Canada's promotional material, to which actress Jameela Jamil fast reacted to, pointing out that cellulite is "inevitable, completely normal thing."

And considering the fact that studies cite cellulite as normal for 80-90% of post-pubertal women, Avon carelessly declaring that "dimples are cute on your face (not on your thighs)", is proof of how companies play on women's insecurities in order to get them to spend money on products they don't actually need. 

Avon's Smooth Moves Naked Proof creams supposedly "reduces cellulite, firms skin and softens stretch marks so she can feel confident and powerful 24/7." 

READ MORE: This exquisite photo collection celebrates that women with underarm hair, scarred chests, cellulite and vitiligo have always been beautiful

However, two medical journals (and perhaps even more) would disagree with these promises. 

NCBI states that "no systematic review has been performed so far to evaluate the efficacy of the available treatment options for cellulite," while Medical News Today confirms that there is "no scientific proof that cellulite creams are effective in getting rid of cellulite or reducing its appearance".

Dr. Garry S. Brody, a professor of plastic surgery at the University of Southern California, is even quoted in the report saying "women who believe that they can eliminate cellulite through creams, or even weight loss, are likely to be disappointed". 

With cosmetics and fashion brands taking a more inclusive and body positive approach to their marketing and overall merchandise offerings, it's baffling that a mega brand with as much visibility as Avon would miss the movement around them and, instead, go the opposite direction. 

As Jameela further noted in her criticism of their ad, "what a gross abuse of the body positive movement".

Avon has since apologised for "missing the mark" with their ads after other social media users also called out the body shaming message implied in the ad:

The apology issued on Avon Insider's Twitter account takes accountability for "[messing] up on our Smooth Moves Naked Proof messaging," and that they "love their community of women."

It would also be unfair to pin this kind of marketing only on Avon because feminine hygiene brands and hair removal products also dabble extensively on marketing that is based on misogynistic conditioning of what women's body should look and smell like. 

Intimate washes are created for the purpose of "better genital hygiene" and hair removal products are sold separately for different body parts (legs, body and underarms) so that we buy more than one for fear of having too much hair in 'unnecessary places'. 

We all know we don't need these products, but the packaging in all its glistening imagery and dream-selling makes us feel otherwise when it catches us off-guard in a cosmetic store isle. 

And perhaps that's why stretchmarks and cellulite creams continue to be thing.

Are products like these well meaning or are they just playing on women's insecurities? Let us know what you think here.

Sign up to W24’s newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our hot stories and giveaways.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.