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.”