Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ ignite viral awakening

April 25th, 2013

Since 2004, Dove has been striving to showcase women’s raw beauty: stretch marks, flat chests, wrinkles and all. Last week, Dove launched a new phase of their campaign that sparked global attention. The video focusing on women’s perception of their appearances has provoked a deep, emotional reaction.

Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” begins with FBI-trained forensic artist Gil Zamora asking each woman to describe herself. Zamora has sketched over 3,000 people during his 28-year career. Each of the seven women is one-on-one with the artist, and neither Zamora nor the subject can see one another.

Zamora asks in a soothing voice, “How would you describe your chin?” Each woman replies with negative comments about herself. One woman remarks, “My mom told me I had a big jaw.” Another replies, “I kind of have a fat, rounder face.” None of the participants were told they were being drawn.

Before the women were sketched, they ran into an unexpected stranger. The stranger is then asked to come into the room, and told to describe the woman.

Both sketches are then compared side-by-side. Consistently, the first is less aesthetically pleasing than the second. The second tends to be more accurate.

According to a press release on Dove’s website, “Over half (54 percent) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst critic.”

“When I was asked to be a part of the film for Dove, I never imagined how different the two sketch portrayals would be,” said Zamora in the press release. “What has stayed with me are the emotional reactions the women had when they viewed the composite sketches hung side by side. I think many of these brave women realized that they had a distorted self-perception that had affected parts of their lives in significant ways.”

“I should be more grateful of my natural beauty,” said one of the participants in the video. “It impacts everything.”

Another said, “We spend time as women analyzing and fixing the things that aren’t quite right. We should spend more time appreciating the things we do like.”

John Carroll University sophomores Maddie Butler and Sarah Ruppert applauded Dove’s latest beauty initiative.

“I know if I was asked to describe myself, I would have definitely fallen into this trap. After watching this video, I try to think twice about how I view my appearance,” said Ruppert.

Butler added that the message the advertisment conveys helps combat societal pressures.

“We are so caught up with focusing on our insecurities that we forget of all the positive things that make us beautiful,” Butler said. “There’s definitely a difference with how we see ourselves and how the world sees us.”

Dove has released a six-minute and a three-minute rendition of the commercial. The short films can be accessed at the Dove U.S. channel on YouTube.