By Jennifer June Lay from our PRGN affiliate Xenophon Strategies in Washington, D.C.
In today’s technology-driven world, we are inundated with advertising. From social media to traditional media, someone is always trying to sell us something. Typically the product’s advertising theme has something to do with puppies, babies or sex because that’s what gets noticed. However, that’s not the case with Dove’s latest advertising initiative as part of its “Real Beauty” campaign that launched in 2004.
According to Dove’s website, a wider definition of real beauty was needed when a major global study found that only 2 percent of women around the world describe themselves as beautiful. We are taught very young in life that people come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. So why is it that only 2 percent of women think they’re beautiful? Could it have something to do with the Carl’s Jr. commercials or that airbrushing or photoshopping of women’s bodies for print publications has become the norm?
This is all too evident in Dove’s latest Real Beauty Sketches. A group of women are asked to describe themselves and a woman they just met to an FBI-trained forensic composite artist. Separated by a curtain, the artist draws a likeness of each woman based on words alone. As the video unfolds, women are judging themselves much harsher than their new acquaintance. Phrases like, “My mom told me I had a big jaw” and “I kind of have a fat, rounder face” were some of the self-described characteristics while the words used to describe the acquaintance were less critical, “nice, thin chin” and “short, cute nose.”
The video concludes with the drawings side by side revealing two drastically different images. Each woman was tearful as they reflected on their own self-image versus what someone else sees. As one woman states, “I’ve come a long way in how I see myself, but I think I still have a long ways to go.”
According to Media and Body Image: A Fact Sheet for Parents, media can lead adolescents to think that their own bodies are not attractive or acceptable and that their value depends on how they look. This way of thinking can be very powerful and, as evident in this video, is carried with us into adulthood. No matter a woman’s age or every success she has achieved, “women are their own worst beauty critics.” As a relatively new stepmom to a tween girl, I hope to break this stigma in my house and using Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign is a great place to start.
Questions or comments? Please leave comments below or connect with Jennifer on Twitter: @jayjunelay.