Just this week, Dove released their new advertising campaign ‘Dove Real Beauty Sketches.’ After seeing so many of my friends share the video, I, too, became interested. I’ve seen Dove’s videos before, and I really liked their video Onslaught, because it illustrates that girls today are faced with the pressure to become thin, which the beauty industry seems to equate with sexy and beautiful. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting before I saw the video. Given that it’s a Dove creation, maybe I was expecting to feel empowered, or even beautiful- which would mean that their campaign worked on me. Instead, there was something that bothered me. While I couldn’t pinpoint it at the time of watching the video, I realized what it was upon deeper thinking.
The entire video limits the concept of beauty to a physical level. A woman notes that her chin protrudes, another states that she has a big jaw, and another woman talks about her big forehead. At the end of the video, you see two sketches of one person: one sketched based on what they think they look like, and another sketch based on descriptions of the person given by someone else. Yes, this showcases exactly what Dove ends their video with: ‘you are more beautiful than you think.’ While I don’t disagree with this statement, I disagree with the message that Dove is sending. Specifically, that beauty is solely a physical attribute. This cannot be further from the truth, because some of the most beautiful people I know are beautiful regardless of their physical attributes. They are beautiful because they are intelligent, witty, and thoughtful. They are beautiful because they are empathetic, loving, and confident. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms- which Dove’s new video has failed to recognize, too.
What Dove plays on in its marketing campaign is the lack of confidence people have in their perception of self-beauty, and that by buying their products, you will make yourself more physically beautiful, and thus, more confident. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Confidence shouldn’t have to stem from physical beauty.
I know what I’m saying isn’t new, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Regardless of whether Dove had good intentions or not, the video sends the wrong message. Yes, you are more beautiful than you think. But what Dove does not teach us about beauty is that, in a world where so much emphasis is placed on becoming beautiful via cosmetics and beauty products, plastic surgery, and being thin, it is so important to realize that beauty is not what you see in the mirror, or what the scale shows. It’s more than that: it’s the characteristics that make you unique, it’s how you think and act, and how you make people feel. The only person who can make you believe that you are beautiful is yourself. Not Dove, or some big corporation who wants your money.