Much of the time, I think that Dove’s commercials and “real beauty” campaigns are wonderful and spot on – from the above ad, to the Real Beauty Sketches, to the recent dad-focused “#RealStrength” ad during the 2015 Superbowl.
The most recent video I’ve seen circulating however, “Choose Beautiful”, really misses the mark. In case you haven’t seen it (and choose not to click to view below), here’s the short version: They labeled two side by side doors as “Beautiful” and “Average”, and then recorded women’s decisions about which door to go through (interviewing them after the fact). I think the message is supposed to be that we should choose to view ourselves as beautiful – a lovely sentiment for sure, but it’s not what I get from this video.
Thanks for spreading the message that “beauty” = “confidence”. Why not have doors that say “Brilliant”, or “Talented”, or “Strong”? There are lots of ways for a woman to find confidence in herself besides beauty.
What ever happened to “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”? “Beautiful” should be a subjective term, but has somehow turned into a societal norm that we should all be working hard to achieve. And yet, vanity is frowned upon, isn’t it? It’s expected that we (want to) be beautiful, but if we believe we are beautiful and show that confidence publicly, we are then labeled as conceited. This experiment asks women to choose in a very public setting not only what they believe, but what they want people watching to think they believe. It’s a rare person that has the innate confidence to just be themselves all the time. We want to be liked so that we can be successful. It may be unfortunate, but sometimes, as women, showing too much confidence can be counterproductive in this arena. One woman is so put off by the choices that she turns around and walks away! I think she’s got it right – this is a no-win scenario.
All of that aside, here is my biggest issue with this video. “Beautiful” and “Average” are NOT opposites! When did average become a negative thing? No matter what the standard, won’t there (and shouldn’t there) always be an “average”? My feet are above average in size, my hair is above average in thickness, and I like to believe I am of above average intelligence. But those qualifications would mean nothing without the existence of “average”. If everyone identifies themselves as “beautiful”, doesn’t “beautiful”, by default, become “average”?
I’ve given this quite a bit of thought, and I’ve decided I would proudly walk through the “Average” door. While I know that I am one-of-a-kind and all that jazz, I also don’t think there is anything specifically or exceptionally “Beautiful” about me that qualifies me over the majority to walk through the other door. And that’s not a lack of confidence; it’s just an appreciation for “Average”. I am not better, you are not better, she is not better… we are just different, and I admire that.