A couple of days I posted a video that is part of the new Dove campaign. If you didn’t watch it on my blog, I’m sure you’ll have seen it somewhere else as it has been splashed across many a social networking site over the last week.
If you haven’t watched, and don’t really want to, allow me to summarise:
Dove hired a forensic artist to sit on one side of a curtain and draw a woman who was sitting on the other side of the curtain. First, he would draw the woman as she described herself, and then he would draw her as described by a stranger she had just met. The two drawings were displayed beside one another and the women were asked to come and see themselves: as seen by them and by others.
Now, despite the worthy ideals propagated by the Dove ‘Real Beauty’ campaign, we must keep in mind that they are a cosmetic company who are using these aforementioned worthy ideals (not to mention a fairly schmaltzy soundtrack) to persuade us to spend our hard-earned cash on their products. But, despite that caveat, there are still a few things that moved me in the video, as well as a few things that I disagreed with.
The major thing to disagree with, I suppose, was the way that beauty was described: thin, young, pretty, fewer wrinkles, fewer freckles, fewer ‘flaws’.
But there was one great thing too and that was the common thread that appeared in each pair of pictures that they featured in the film. In each of the drawings that were described by the stranger, the picture made the woman look much happier, and also just looked more like her. They were all much more her.
Beauty is a funny old thing really, and I don’t have any easy relationship with it. We all know, I suppose that we should care about the predictable, culture-determined ideas of beauty; the shiny hair and white teeth, perfect skin and no body fat. And yet, those shallow, skin-deep things are all that we see. It’s all very well saying ‘beauty is about what’s on the inside’, but we don’t see what’s on the inside every morning when we look in the mirror.
But I do know that it is more than that. It’s got to be. Beauty is truthful, and real, and more than just braided hair and gold jewellery.
So, I’ve decided to keep thinking about it. And to make Beautiful my word.
Last year my lovely friend Fiona introduced me to this idea of choosing one word for the year (read more about it here). Last year her word was Brave, and this year she’s chosen Joy. Now, really one’s supposed to pick a word for one calendar year, but, since we’re already 1/3 of the way through 2013, I’ve decided to have this word for the next year of my life (my last days as a twenty-something).
Let’s see how we go, eh?
In summary: beauty.