Women Are Own Worst Critics in Revealing Dove “Real Beauty” Ad

Melissa Knowles

Dove has generated a lot of media attention over the years with its "Real Beauty" campaign highlighting the natural beauty of everyday women instead of focusing on superskinny, airbrushed models. After all, such models are not a realistic expression of what the majority of women in America look like.

Dove's newest ad, "Dove Real Beauty Sketches," released Monday, follows suit, showcasing real women and their perception of themselves. This latest ad features San Jose, California Police Department sketch artist Gil Zamora. Zamora, an FBI-trained forensic sketch artist, has each woman sit down on the opposite side of a curtain from him. He is unable to see what she looks like, and she is unable to see him, too. Zamora asks each woman to describe the physical appearance of her face, hair, and prominent features to him in detail, as he sketches away.

Then Zamora has strangers, who have only met the women briefly, describe the details of the woman they encountered. At the end of the video, each woman's portrait is placed side by side with the one created by her description of herself and the one made based on the stranger's description. The results are startling.

So far, the video has already been viewed more than 7 million times on YouTube. In the description, Dove points out that based on its finding, only 4 percent of women around the world consider themselves to be beautiful. The video has generated a huge social response online and provoked conversations on the nature of beauty.

Some on Twitter are describing the ad as "enlightening" and "powerful." Alice Gao tweeted, "This video gave me goosebumps (and a tear or two)." Another wrote, "The clip is not preaching that you should be 'beautiful' by some standard set by society. It's telling you to be aware of the natural beauty you already possess, be proud of it and extend it yourself."

On the other hand, some people comment that the video focuses too much on a similar 'type' of beauty -- slim, blond, and white. A number feel that there is not enough attention given to the beauty of diversity. In addition, some have pointed out that even if the video has a strong and positive message, in the end, Dove is still trying to sell a product.

In any case, the video has achieved viral status, and it's got people talking. Even men are weighing in. A spoof version of the Dove ad was uploaded Wednesday, and it has a similar layout and tone, but instead of describing themselves as not attractive, each man exaggerates his attributes as the sketch artist draws his portrait.

Not sure how much attention this spoof ad will generate. So far, it has only about 5.5 thousand views.

[Related: Get Rid of Negative Facebook Ads with Dove's Ad Makeover]

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