As some of you may well know, Dove released a new ad for their “Real Beauty Sketches” project, called “You are more beautiful than you think.”
First, I applaud the Dove company in their first few, groundbreaking ads over the years. The first one I ever saw was extremely powerful to me. The majority of their ads revolve around the idea that the media distorts our idea of “real beauty.” I’m completely on board with that, but with some hesitations.
Of course, at the end of the day, they’re just selling soap … and hair care, skin care, deodorant, body wash, and lotions and creams. But we all know that ads usually carry a far wider-ranging message, and that somehow, even though we think we can ignore it, the media makes a huge impact on us.
The media impacts even me, who refuses to own a TV, doesn’t subscribe to one magazine, and shields my eyes at billboards, logos, ads and flyers (true story). I try as hard as I can to resist “media pollution,” because there’s so much I find objectionable.
This ad campaign is different than the shallow, airbrushed, thin smiley models looking like only about 2% of our population.
When I asked for feedback about the ad, some of the other wonderful members of CatholicMatch had equally insightful things to say:
Lisa, encapsulated my sentiments exactly: “I don’t need a beauty company to tell me I am beautiful. I know I am because God made me that way, inside and out. No beauty cream is going to change that.”
Kate -756604 points out that, because we reflect the beauty of our Maker, there’s really no way we can (or at least, should) find ourselves unattractive: “Personally, I think that since we’ve all been created in the image of God, we are all beautiful but only if we keep our souls focused on God. The more pure in heart we are, the more it reflects in our mannerisms, expressions etc. A person who smiles a lot or is very charismatic will glow and people will find them very good looking.”
Very true, and it’s a good core belief to carry around within us in order to ignore the media onslaught telling us we need to be more attractive.
One great insight came from Joe – 388825, who, is thoughtful and very sensitive to the feelings of others, particularly women (are you paying attention, ladies?)
He echoes what I felt as well: “When I first saw it, I thought about passing it on but decided against it. It seems nice on the surface, but there’s a celebration of superficiality to it. See? Your looks should make you happier!”
Exactly right, Joe! I wanted to like it when this ad was released, given what Dove has done before, but I found that there was something missing.
Joe explained it well: “It also confuses beauty with physical appearance. Beauty is internalized grace. It comes from making good choices, aligned with conscience and compassion, then following through on them, moment to moment, day after day. Looks are nice, and everyone can appreciate different versions of them, but they’re fragile and temporary. Beauty comes from working with God. It lasts.”
I think Joe hits on something very important: the fragile and temporary part. This is the very foundation of the beauty and fitness industry, isn’t it? Our current culture celebrates youthfulness and fitness over internal substance as markers of beauty. And while Dove shows a few moments here and there of being “sympathetic” to the few women that are slightly — and very slightly — outside our narrow, restrictive norms of beauty, it really falls short of that mark.
Joe noticed that too: “Maybe it did help some of them with self–esteem. But I don’t see anything that bears on their true beauty in this video. A truly beautiful woman is powerful in the real world not because of how she looks, but because of how she reflects the beauty of God that’s alive within her.”
Wise words! I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions about this ad campaign. Watch the ad here and leave me a comment below.