Can You See
How Beautiful You Are?

I’m a fan of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty even if I’m not always a fan of the aesthetics or even of the end goal (the “underarm conversation” campaign stands out since I’ve never once considered the possibility that my underarms were or could be ugly. Ugly underarms, is that really a thing — and if it were, couldn’t you solve the problem by, you know, wearing a shirt with sleeves? I mean, do you really need a product for that?

But criticisms aside, I’ve never doubted Dove intentions, which, yes, includes selling product, but I also believe they genuinely want women to feel good about themselves and their bodies while they’re using all those products from Dove. Call me gullible, but after seeing their latest Dove Real Beauty Sketches, I’m even more convinced of their good intentions. Of course, telling stories and not tying it to the sale of a specific product is smart business these days. As social media renegade Amy Jo Martin explains in her informative and entertaining book, Renegades Write The Rules, success no longer belongs to the brand that bombards consumers with the most adds; it belongs to the brand that builds genuine relationships of affinity with real people. One way to do this is to tell stories, which is why it’s been said that, in today’s world, every brand is a media brand. Brands are no longer selling products, they’re selling stories — not about what a brand does, but about why it does it. It’s an idea Amy Jo Martin borrowed from Simon Sinek’s TED Talk in which he explained the difference between brands that lead their industries and everyone else. 

Today, brand relationships are all about transparency (a brand needs to tells who they are) and authenticity (they need to be who they say they are) — which is why it matters that I believe that Dove’s intention are for women to feel good about themselves. It’s also why Dove’s underarm campaign stuck me as such a painful misfire, encouraging me as it does to find a whole new body part to obsess over. And, seriously, underarms? I didn’t even know my underarms could be ugly. In fact, I’m still not convinced they can. Dove didn’t sell me whatever that product was, and they also lost a little of my trust. Well, the folks at Dove have redeemed themselves with the Dove Real Beauty Sketches, a poignant and powerful video experience that gives the lie to whatever stories you might be telling yourself about your looks. The takeaway? Your undoubtedly far more beautiful than you think.

In the Real Beauty Sketches, a forensic sketch artist sits with his back to the room while one woman after another sits in a comfy chair and describes herself. Then, someone else sits in the chair and describes her, a man or a woman who interacted with her earlier in the day. The sketch made with the help of the woman herself invariably showed a woman who was far less beautiful and less radiant than the actual living breathing woman, while the sketch made with the help of the observer captured how beautiful the woman really was.

Oh if but we could see ourselves as we are. If we could see that our beauty is not about this or that individual feature (which in and of itself may be lacking in some way), but about the assemblage of features that make up a beautiful whole, how different might our lives be, how differently might we charge our way through this world.

And so, I leave you with this wish: may you see yourself as you truly are.


PAULA PURYEAR is a Lawyer, Film & Television writer, HuffPoster and Founder of Revel In It Mag.

Tags: , , , , , ,