Friday, April 19, 2013

Beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder

Women are, by nature, hard on themselves -- about work, about parenting, and especially about how they look. I just never realized how hard we are on ourselves.

Indeed, I was somewhat shocked to learn that according to a survey sponsored by Dove, only 2 percent of women consider themselves beautiful. (Click on the link to see highlights from "The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report.")

But don't just read the survey highlights. Check out this new video from Dove, titled "Dove Real Beauty Sketches," which has been viewed nearly 9 million times in the last five days.

I just watched it, twice, and still have tears in my eyes.

It also made me angry, because I just knew that someone, or several someones, either directly or indirectly, had made these women feel un-beautiful. Granted, we shouldn't believe everything people tell us. But if your mother tells you you have a big jaw or offers to get you liposuction for your twenty-first birthday (hi Mom!), or a guy tells you you might look cute if you wore more makeup (hi Larry!) or lost 10 or 15 pounds (hi Michael!), and all the women you see on TV or in fashion magazines look nothing like you, you start to feel... un-beautiful. And even if, later in life, you do lose weight, or whatever, it is very hard to counteract years of being told or made to feel less than beautiful.

But I applaud Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty (in 2011 a whopping 4 percent of women surveyed said they considered themselves beautiful, though that was double the number surveyed in 2004) -- and I love their new tagline, "You are more beautiful than you think."

UPDATED 4/20/13: It was really only a matter of time until a parody emerged*. Herewith, "Dove Real Beauty Sketches -- Men."

"Don't forget, men: YOU aren't as beautiful as you think!"

*Though from personal experience, this video is dead on.

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