The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty kicked off in 2004 and has evolved into the Dove Movement for Self Esteem. Most recently they released a short video called Real Beauty Sketches http://realbeautysketches.dove.us/ with the tag line “Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.” In a nutshell several women were asked to describe themselves to a forensic artist who could not see them. He created a sketch from each woman’s point of view. The women were also asked to “get to know” a stranger. The forensic artist created a sketch from the stranger’s point of view as well. The comparison was frankly astounding.
I found the video profoundly moving as have many people who viewed it. I cannot imagine anyone who would not be moved, but as with everything in life, this video has its critics as well. One opposing view can be found at the following blog site http://jazzylittledrops.tumblr.com/post/48118645174/why-doves-real-beauty-sketches-video-makes-me. The author of this blog acknowledges the positive messages; women are their own harshest critics and that they are more beautiful than they think. However, after that she identifies the flaws that she sees. As I interpret it, the author believes the women in this brief video were not diverse enough or perhaps were too pretty. I quote:
“So you’re beautiful… if you’re thin, don’t have noticeable wrinkles or scars, and have blue eyes. If you’re fat or old… uh, maybe other people don’t think you look as fat and old as you do yourself? Great? Oh, and by the way, there are real women who look like the women on the left. What are you saying about them, exactly?”
I couldn’t disagree more. Dove sent a clear message with a few simple and powerful examples. I suppose the video could have included more diversity, but in my opinion, the message is not diminished.
So what message did I hear? Most women don’t see their own beauty but more importantly, we are absolutely brilliant at seeing beauty in others.
I am fat. I’m old. I have frizzy hair, a sagging chin, wrinkles, scars and moles. That is what I see when I look in the mirror. Last week I went out to lunch with a good friend of mine. The minute she saw me she said “You look beautiful.” I think she is beautiful in every way and I have told her that for years. Me beautiful? I don’t see it. Perhaps I have trained myself not to look for it.
On the other hand, I don’t think I have ever met a woman who I thought was ugly. Undeniably, there is a continuum of beauty. However, other than me, the only people that I am willing to put at the “ugly” end of it are those who proved themselves to be ugly, and that has nothing to do with their appearance.
It breaks my heart that an absolutely beautiful young friend of mine sees a completely distorted image of herself when she looks in the mirror. It somehow doesn’t break my heart to think I might do the same thing, but maybe it should.
Back to the tag line “Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.” I think we have a long way to go and it truly starts with adjusting our self perceptions.
If you don’t think so, watch this Dove video called “Inner Critic” and listen to women identify their least favorite body parts and their most beautiful body part. http://www.dove.us/Tips-Topics-And-Tools/Videos/trilogy.aspx#ooid=dsM3EwYTq6LIrLVO71ihDJldh2N7jnmQ
It may be more diverse than “Real Beauty Sketches” and it is no less astounding. I think the women are all beautiful and I can’t believe what they say about themselves. The video ends with the question “Isn’t it time we saw the beauty in ourselves?”
If I ever get better at seeing it, I’ll let you know.