This is an incredibly appropriate and poignant video that I think everyone should see.
This video flooded my Facebook newsfeed earlier last week, and the first time I saw it I was pleasantly surprised. At the time I was hoping to find a little nugget of interesting news that would be the subject of my next post. And, just before I began the customary “Brainstorming Dance” (which, by the way, I discovered was a very real thing only after I wrote that snarky comment), the universe graced me with this gem!
When I first saw this video, I thought “YES! This is perfect!” And a choir began singing in my head, complete with orchestra accompaniment. Because what this video did was explain the reason that I started this project in the first place: whether we know it or not, many women have become accustomed to negative body image perception that has unfortunately become the social norm in society. It’s a pretty uncomfortable thing to admit too, but Dove’s attempt to capture these moments of truth helped to concretize the issue and bare it to the viewing public, specifically women.
In Eve Ensler’s book The Good Body, many women were interviewed from around the world to talk about their bodies and how they felt about themselves because of their bodies. She wrote that, “Except for a rare few, the women I met loathed at least one part of their body” (Ensler xiii).
Now how many of us can relate to that statement?
I know that I most certainly can, being a perpetrator of that type of thinking and a witness to that behavior my entire life. Looking back on my past, I heard this kind of talk for the first time when I was in middle school. That’s what, when I was 12 years old? Yup, twelve years old and I was hearing girls complaining about their legs and stomachs and their (usually lack of) breasts. By the time I was in high school, it was integrated into the vernacular of almost every girl that I met. The few years that we had to develop this type of demoralizing bodytalk in middle school really showed — now we could articulate the very small details of ourselves that we found disgusting, hideous, or downright wrong, compared to what was considered beautiful in the world around us.
It wasn’t that every single girl that I met took part in this type of negative body talk. But I know that many of us did, and still do today. As I said before, I am a perpetrator of the same negative body image talk that I am describing, and I have yet to escape its dangerous grip since falling into it years ago. Trying to imagine what my own beauty sketch would look like had I described myself in the same situation as these women is a little worrying, to be honest. And that’s exactly the point of this video — it is meant to shine a light on something that has been embedded into social interaction and cultural practice, with far too many consequences for the parties involved.
You can see a few other videos by going to their website here, to see more of the interviews of the women in the main video.
Or, you can check out an interesting alternate opinion on the Dove Beauty Sketches, which I would love to talk more about, but I don’t want to write a novel on here quite yet! Here is the link.