Dove's new 'real beauty sketches' video leaves viewers divided -

Dove’s new ‘real beauty sketches’ video leaves viewers divided

Are women their own worst beauty critics?


On Apr. 14, Dove posted a three-minute video to YouTube promoting their latest ad campaign. “Women are their own worst beauty critics,” they write. “Only four per cent of women around the world consider themselves beautiful.”

Dove, who also sells a deodorant that promises to reduce the unsightly discolouration of women’s armpits, goes on to say they “are committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. So, we decided to conduct a compelling social experiment that explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see.”

The video features Gil Zamora, an FBI forensic artist, who sketches portraits of women based on the physical descriptions they give to him of themselves.  Zamora never sees them during the session.

The same women were also asked to spend some one-on-one time with another participant. Afterwards, that person also gives Zamora a verbal physical description of the woman with whom they met.

At the end, the women are confronted with the two sketches, side by side. In every case, the sketch created by Zamora from their own description is harsher and less attractive than the sketch he creates based on the description given by the other party.

The video has been watched nearly 900,000 times and has garnered over 1,200 comments.

A few point out Dove is owned by the same company, Unilever, that also owns Axe body spray, whose ads often represent “women as sex objects.”

Other commenters were less critical: “I don’t care what the reason for the creation of this video was or what the company that made it stands for,” writes blueistrue06. “This is still a damn powerful message.”


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Dove’s new ‘real beauty sketches’ video leaves viewers divided

  1. Let’s not condemn Dove because of other things Unilever does. That would be like someone rejecting your charitable work because you smoke or have a habit of scratching your butt in public.

    • Why not condemn them? Unilever helps to make both sets of ads a reality. Of course you need to question the sincerity of the Dove message when the Axe ads create the very environment that they are trying to “heal” with the “Campaign for Real Beauty”. It’s all a bit too slick for me.

      • True, but lets not lose the baby with the bathwater. Call out Unilever for Axe but be careful not to denigrate the Dove campaign in the process.

  2. This ad says to me, “Believe in your own beauty. You are more beautiful than you think. But please have just enough dissatisfaction to buy the product that will make your “real” beauty shine.”
    It’s a powerful ad that I find intriguing but I also wonder if women just have a natural sense of humility that prevents them from describing themselves as beautiful to a total stranger. Particularly when they are being filmed. I’m not saying that women aren’t hard on themselves. We certainly are, but I’m saying that you can’t be too touched when you feel Dove’s ulterior motive lurking behind the curtain.

  3. Its interesting how when you describe you, someone else gets one impression and when others describe yoiu, that same someone gets another impression. Women, especially, are critical about so many things about themselves and remember negative things said about them so many years ago that they can’t see what’s there. Women pay much more attention to their looks for lots of reasons, not just societal pressures and if it is society, women are more critical of each other than men are critical of women. Women spend so much more time on preparing themselves (face, clothes, hygene, etc.) that they pay more attention to themselves than do men IN GENERAL (don’t want to talk about exceptions or someone’s small group of friends)

  4. To me; this ad conveys the message, “You should set more stock in the opinion of strangers than in trusting your judgment.” I find this, combined with a needless focus on factors largely out of a woman’s control, to be demeaning and paternalistic.

  5. I get what Dove is trying to say, “believe in your beauty,” but I’m still wary of praising this. reads
    “Let’s look at which descriptors the editors chose to include. When the participants described themselves, these were some of the things that were implied as negatives: fat, rounder face, freckles, fatter, 40— starting to get crows feet, moles, scars… Whereas some of theimplied positive descriptors used by others were: thin face, nice thin chin, nice eyes that lit up when she spoke and were very expressive (my actual favorite), short and cute nose, her face was fairly thin (this was said twice), and very nice blue eyes.”

    Aren’t we suppose to embrace our fat curves, rounder face? Are we not supposed to be confident in our faults? I feel like even in the strangers judgement, there were some “standards” of natural beauty. So what happens with the girl with actually a fat butt or immense amount of freckles? Do we rely on others’ judgement to be satisfied with our own?

  6. Here’s the thing: the commercial implies that all women give a crap about “beauty,” and it highlights looks as something to worry about. Of course, if we stop worrying about beauty, even unconventional beauty, Dove stands to lose our business – after all, it’s an AD.

    That being said, I do a lot of things in my life – I have many accomplishments of which I am very proud. There’s a lot to me besides my face and body, and I tend to focus on the other stuff because it is more important to me. Yet, I’d be rich if I were paid for all the times someone has come up to me, unsolicited, and said “You know, you could be a really pretty girl if only you ______________ (lose weight, wear makeup, stop biting your lip, etc.)”

    I am tired of being measured by this rubric, especially when men can be taken seriously at their job without regard to the condition of their skin or the depth of their cheekbones. Where are the people asking “You know, you could really be accomplished if you’d only __________”