The Dove Real Beauty Campaign

A Dove Real Beauty Campaign poster

A Dove Real Beauty Campaign poster

This is an incredibly appropriate and poignant video that I think everyone should see.

Right now.

Watch it.

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.

The man behind the sketches doing his thing

The man behind the sketches doing his thing

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.

When did it start for you?

When did it start for you?

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.


2 thoughts on “The Dove Real Beauty Campaign

  1. colleenshipley says:

    I was such a sucker for this video when it came out too! It was interesting to read the article that was more critical of it- it brought up some underlying messages that I was maybe too blinded by emotions to see…?

    • Dave H. says:

      The video is certainly a reflection of the type of angst you describe in your post, but I love the message that is being conveyed (or at least the one I take away from it): One should not assume that the world sees the nuances in your face (and perhaps, by extension, the rest of your physical self) as being as negatively prominent as you see them, and that by allowing oneself to focus more on other features, you might see what others see—and end up seeing ALL of you in a different light.

      The Soapbox article seemed to want to pick on certain specifics (which the author admits) and then emphasize the sociocultural “rules” that fly in the face of the video, instead of pointing out how the video is trying to combat them in the first place. For me, the simple message is this: If you are too critical of your looks because you’ve been conditioned to do so by the world, then maybe the revolution can start with you.

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