Ten years ago Dove shocked the world with a revealing video that detailed the many steps that are taken transform a model into someone who is “beautiful” in the eyes of the world. In it Dove uncovered the “photoshopped” beauty that is seen all around us and started its own campaign against the distorted vision of beauty that American girls grow up admiring.
What prompted their “Real Beauty” campaign was their own research that found “2 percent of the women interviewed considered themselves beautiful.” Dove then revised their mission and has been working ever since to help women and girls appreciate their own unique beauty. The company states on their website:
“We want women and girls of all ages to see beauty as a source of confidence, not anxiety… We’re on a mission to help the next generation of women develop a positive relationship with the way they look — helping them raise their self-esteem and realize their full potential.”
Since their first video that went viral, Dove has produced a series of inspirational ads. In 2013 the company focused on “Real Beauty Sketches” where “each woman is the subject of two portraits drawn by FBI-trained forensic artist Gil Zamora: one based on her own description, and the other using a stranger’s observations.” The result is that when both portraits are put side-by-side, the woman is astonished by how other people find her more beautiful than she finds herself.
Then in 2014 Dove focused on the legacy that mothers pass on to their daughters and how children pick up their own vision of beauty from their parents.
Earlier this year Dove created a campaign in the US entitled “#MyBeautyMySay,” where ordinary women of all ages display their confidence in the uniqueness of their beauty.
Most recently Dove has started a new video series in Portugal where men were asked to describe the beauty of a woman on a screen in front of them while wearing a heart monitor. At first they are shown a picture of a model and the men’s heartbeats are steady, describing the women with little emotion.
Then each man is shown a picture of a spouse, daughter or close family member. Heart rates immediately go up and the men describe the beauty of the woman tenderly and with great emotion. The goal of the ad is to show women how beautiful they are in the eyes of men who truly care about them. It reveals how these men love them for who they are, not comparing them to the world’s vision of beauty. The outward “imperfections” of these women are pointed out as the qualities that make them beautiful.
While some have criticized Dove’s actions for putting too much emphasis on “beauty,” the brand has been praised for challenging the cultural standards of beauty as well as recently defending female athletes who are criticized for the way they look.
In the end, Dove reminds us that we should never look to modern concepts of beauty to determine our self-worth. We are beautiful and our human dignity should never be reduced to appearances. God created us and loves us no matter how we look or feel about ourselves.
If we could listen attentively to God he would say to us, “Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee” (Song of Solomon 4:7).