Refilwe Modiselle labels Dove ad featuring woman with albinism as 'misleading'
Model and radio host Refilwe Modiselle has questioned the inclusion of a person living with albinism in an ad campaign by Dove, explaining that the brand's products are harmful to people with the condition.
Dove launched a campaign to break down stereotypes around beauty, encouraging women from around the world to share their pictures under the hashtag #ShowUs.
The campaign has featured dozens of women from all walks of life, including those with skin conditions such as vitiligo.
It was Dove SA's decision to include a model with albinism in the advert for the campaign that drew the attention of Refilwe, who lives with the condition.
Responding to the advert on Twitter, Refilwe said those with the condition could not use the brand's products.
I don't mean to burst your bubble Dove but people with albinism can't exactly use Dove soap. So why would you advertise for a group that can't use this product.— Refilwe Modiselle (@vanillablaq) May 21, 2019
It was never albinism inclusive because its not made for albinism skin. In fact I've used it & NO its harsh for us. https://t.co/RWR6FSuL4c
Refilwe told SowetanLIVE that Dove's tweet could harm the market they were trying to reach.
"It is not a product catering for us. They may say [it's] for sensitive skin, but the truth of the matter is that we are not really meant to use soap. From an early age, you are told to use aqueous cream and stay away from products that can be harmful or harsh," she said.
She said that while she applauded the idea of catering to different types of beauty, she felt that including the model with albinism could be doing more harm than good.
"You can't use someone living with albinism to endorse something that is not good for them. It is misleading because a woman with albinism will go to a store and say, 'I saw Dove is good for my skin,' when it is a known fact that we are not supposed to use it.
"There are no actual over-the-counter products [for people with albinism]. The lightest thing you can use is an aqueous bar. It is a bar version of aqueous cream.
"Skin is a whole other level of sensitivity. If Dove was releasing a product and said it had been tested to be safe to those living with albinism, it may have been a different story."
Refilwe said if she was approached by Dove to shoot for their campaign, she would decline.
"Have you sat down and thought about this?" she said, addressing the company directly. "It is great to be inclusive and to show different types of beauty, but just think about what it is you are endorsing. I think sometimes people have the tendency to jump on trends without understanding everything or the message you are portraying. You need to do your research."
Several attempts by SowetanLIVE to contact Dove for comment on Refilwe's claims were unsuccessful at the time of publishing.