"Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety." That's Dove's tagline and the root of their decade-long campaign to widen the definition of beauty. Launched in 2004, the Dove campaign has tried a variety of angles to start the global conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty. Many say that seven times is a charm, because this year Dove seems to have nailed it with the breathtaking commercial, Real Beauty Sketches.
A long, hard look
In its largest global study to date on women's relationship with beauty, The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited (2011), Dove found that only four percent of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. The statistics continue to shock — and dismay. In a study of 1,200 girls ages 10 to 17, 72 percent said they felt tremendous pressure to be beautiful, and only 11 percent of girls around the world would use the word beautiful to describe themselves. Katie Hurley, LCSW Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Parenting Expert says, "What we need to do is think about the messages being internalized in the home and within peer groups." Clearly there's work to be done.
Our own worst critics
For Dove, that work came in the form of a new campaign entitled Real Beauty Sketches, just out yesterday. In it, Dove had FBI-trained artist Gil Zamora create sketches of seven women based solely on their descriptions — the women and the artist never saw each other. The women described themselves as we all might. Big jaw. Round face. Big forehead. After each woman was drawn based on her own descriptions, Zamora drew a second version based on a stranger's description of them. The same women were described as having a nice, thin chin, a cute face and very nice blue eyes. After the drawings were complete, each woman was brought back into the room and the two drawings — and their implications — were revealed side by side. The result was breathtaking in its beauty and tear jerking in its reality: Women are so very hard on themselves.
You are more beautiful than you think
Dove believes that women deserve to hear and feel the suggestion, You are more beautiful than you think, and we couldn't agree more. This is an important focus for women — and our daughters — that requires a shift both in how we think and how we speak. Deborah Gilboa, MD, Family Physician says, "Moms have an enormous amount of influence on how our daughters see and value their own beauty. But that influence is only a tiny percentage about telling our daughters how beautiful they are, or to look for their beauty on the inside. That influence is almost entirely how we speak about ourselves, how we admire ourselves, how we talk with our friends. Start talking about yourself using only the words you would use to describe your daughter and see the esteem you can build. In yourself, and in her."
Your real beauty
The response to Dove's campaign has been tremendous. The video has been shared on Facebook almost 500,000 times and tweeted almost 10,000 times! Pauline M. Campos, founder of Girl Body Pride says, "We must remember that how we see ourselves is most important, so we to need love ourselves, just the way we are." It sounds like we're all ready to dive into this important conversation. Let's start today in our own homes and with our own friends. Watch the video and get talking about your own real beauty.