Not only does Dove manage to find its way into our daily personal hygiene routines, but it has also managed to find its way into our hearts. Dove’s recent social experiment to help expose women’s 'true beauty' compares and contrasts the ways in which women perceive themselves versus the perceptions of others.
'Women are their own worst beauty critics. In fact, only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. Dove is committed to building positive self-esteem and inspiring all women and girls to reach their full potential. That’s why we decided to conduct a compelling social experiment that proves to women something very important: You are more beautiful than you think.'
Separated by a curtain, women are instructed to describe their physical appearance to a professional forensic artist. As he sketches away, the commercial shows women highlighting physical features such as their protruding chins, overly sized jaws and foreheads, and even freckles brought on by age. After, the women are instructed to interact with a complete stranger who then, in the same manner, gives their account of the women to the forensic artist. A side-by-side composite sketch becomes the result and we are then able to view the way women perceive themselves compared to the perception of the stranger.
The most impressive message taken from this experiment is that not only is the second portrait typically a more attractive representation of the woman, but it is also a closer representation of the woman’s actual appearance.
In lieu of the overly airbrushed actresses and the next-to-impossible body images found in most ads today, this campaign is not only brilliant, but necessary. It’s not an overt attempt to push a product to the consumer, but rather a moment to provide a deeper message: an invitation to introspectively examine the way we perceive ourselves. In the commercial, the physical features that most women considered to be their biggest flaws ended up being the very features that strangers found to be the most attractive. We are in fact our own worst beauty critics — and it is unnecessary. This initiative is a rare gem among the countless contorted ideas and memes being tossed around in the land of advertising. It is a selfless, heartfelt, and powerful campaign. Bravo, Dove. Bravo.