Friday, April 19, 2013

No Dove on my face, BUT...

Beauty: Noun \ˈbyü-tē\

1) the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : "loveliness"

I am forever intrigued by the minds of the people in advertising, both the genius and the somewhat warped. Knowing that we are but pawns in the minds of a group of brainiac nerds ramped up on Red Bull who dream up ways to move our feet to  the stores and our pocketbooks to give up their cash.

Despite the momentary intrigue of "how did they ever come up with that", most ads leave us flat. They are fodder for the fast forward button. We are not moved. However, there are moments in the world of marketing ploys and sales gimmicks that grab us by the heartstrings.  It doesn't happen very often because we are so jaded by the general sense of falseness and mistrust that we have come to expect after years of spending money on cleaning products that don't clean, knives that don't cut and lotions that don't magically erase wrinkles.

Like millions of women, I was struck by the latest online video from Dove, that soap with "one quarter moisturizing cream in it". Dove launched a "real beauty" campaign back in 2005 as they found that so few of us women consider ourselves to be "beautiful". The video shows a forensic artist who draws some women without ever seeing them based solely on their own descriptions of themselves.  He then asks another person to describe that same women and he creates a second drawing.
Forensic artist Gil Zamora didn’t see the women he was sketching, or the strangers who later described the women.

The resulting drawings when compared side by side show how distorted our visions of ourselves have become. Clearly, we don't see ourselves objectively, and certainly not like others see us. One subject even credited her mother's view of her "big" jaw, another spoke of her big forehead, another of her protruding chin. All negative. And why is that, I would ask?

The naysayers of the video believe that we spend far too much time defining ourselves by how we look and bemoan our efforts to constantly "fix" ourselves.  There is a thread of truth in that view - the giant cosmetics industry is proof .  But more to the point, we don't see ourselves realistically, beautiful or not. I admit that the video caused a little twitching in my soul and a tear to my eye, as I realized that like so many women, my vision of myself has been largely impacted by my gawky growing up years. Because I never "felt" pretty on the outside, it took years to undo the negative self talk that had become my habit over the years.

Though the Dove ad may outwardly focus on being "more beautiful than you think", its undercurrent message hits at the heart of the issue.  It's about how we have learned to drill down into our flaws and make them who we are. Like it our not, there are precious few of us women who can see past the crow's feet and age spots to the beautiful women we are. Plain and simply put, our outward beauty comes from within. And ultimately, if more of us saw ourselves as God sees us, we wouldn't worry so much about it anyway.

Laurel. A beautiful mess.


  1. I have not seen these commercials but it would be a valuable tool for many women...a tiny bit of hope that says what our Granny said, "Pretty is as pretty does."

    I'm guilty of seeing only the negative in myself. I protect myself by staying out of the public's eye as much as I can.

  2. I have not seen that commercial I have never thought of it your way but I do think our teenage/child images that were thrust on us certainly do affect the way we see ourselves now. Sad but true. These days I am finally free of that thinking and honestly do not care. I have been known not to even comb my hair and then go out. It is not as important to me what people think. I like me finally. Great post. B

  3. Yes, too many people focus on outward appearance instead of inner beauty. Such a shame.


Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate all those who share and leave their comments very much. Laurel

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