3 Reasons Why Dove's Ad on 'Real Beauty' is Important
In their campaign on 'Real Beauty', Dove conducted a compelling social experiment on women and their self-perceptions. Dove hired a forensic artist to draw blind sketches of women as they described their physical appearance. Then the artist drew a second sketch based on how a stranger described them. Comparisons of the two drawings proved that people's perceptions of themselves are often dramatically different from how they truly are. This video was quite powerful to watch, because it highlights similar experiences clients struggle with in therapy.
Here's my take on the 3 reasons why Dove's ad on 'Real Beauty' is important.
1) Both men and women fall into the trap of being their own worst critic. We've all experienced that harsh critical voice inside our head aka negative 'self-talk'. Although the video shows mostly women, anyone can struggle with negative self-image. Self-criticism has no bounds. I see so many incredible clients who are successful, accomplished, and beautiful on the inside and out. At the same time, they struggle with anxiety, insecurities, low self-esteem, and body-image issues. Just as I do with clients, I challenge you to reject the critical voice and replace it with a positive coach. Notice how it makes a difference in your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and relationships.
2) Set yourself free from the chains of perfectionism. As the video showed, people were really harsh toward themselves, most likely, because they compare themselves to unattainable beauty. Instead of comparing yourself to others and feeling like you're not good enough, learn to accept yourself just as you are. In my opinion, perfection doesn't exist. It's the imperfections that make us beautiful. And we are all imperfectly perfect. Find a way to your embrace unique qualities, attributes, and strengths. Self-acceptance and confidence are empowering and allow us to radiate beauty from the inside out. Beauty is a state of mind!
3) The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When people become hyper-focused on perceived flaws, they aren't able to see the whole picture. The video demonstrated how people magnify minor imperfections and classify themselves as unattractive, because of a tiny flaw. Instead of focusing on one small aspect, take a step back and see yourself as a whole person. Discover aspects that you do like about yourself. What we focus on magnifies!
Curious about what contributes to our self-perceptions? In my opinion, the most powerful influences are the media, south Florida culture, relationships, family dynamics, and previous life experiences. My advice? Channel the criticism in a more useful direction by becoming a critical viewer of social and media messages. Although our society places a strong emphasis on physical beauty, beauty isn't only skin deep. I agree with Dove, "We are more beautiful that we think!!"
For additional support, contact Dr. Kate Campbell, LMFT or the team at Bayview Therapeutic Services at 954.391.5305 ext. 1. Dr. Kate provides individual counseling, pre-marital counseling, marriage therapy, and couples counseling in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.