The Dove Real Beauty viral video you must watch!

Flannery Dean weighs in on what this video means to her. Have a watch and tell us know what you think in our comment section.

A participant from the latest Dove Real Beauty campaign

A participant from the latest Dove Real Beauty campaign

When it comes to women and self-image, especially as it plays out in various media, there is a ruthless dichotomy at work. On the one hand, we are earnestly instructed to celebrate what makes us beautiful, regardless of our size, age, shape or the fullness of our lips.

On the other hand, the same message appears beside headlines demanding to know who wore it best, how much weight she gained during pregnancy or why she still has a spare tire six weeks after giving birth.

The tokenism implicit in all those feel-good messages is no match for the consumer-and-marketing driven real-world scrutiny that ‘outs’ any woman not deemed red-carpet ready. While we may know that even Angelina Jolie doesn’t resemble Angelina Jolie on Saturday morning, it doesn’t prevent us from continuing to compare ourselves unfavourably with Photoshopped images that have no existing comparable in nature.

Our shared complicity is on abundant display in a video gone viral and shot by Dove in its Real Beauty sketches campaign. Women are paired with members of both sexes as they await an individual audience with a forensic artist from whom they are separated by a curtain. The artist quizzes them about their appearance as he draws what he hears: “Tell me about your hair…your chin…”

The women inevitably decry their own appearances. They have a familiar litany of complaints, wide jaw, crow’s feet, too many freckles, a fat face, protruding chin, dark under-eye circles, fatigued expression.

The people with whom they were paired describe them quite differently in a separate session with the artist who again draws what he hears: nice thin chin, sparkling eyes that light up when speaking…

Each woman was stunned and emotional to see the two portraits and how they differed. The self-described picture was inevitably harsh while the stranger-generated portrait — the face we present to the world — was gentle and flattering. Interestingly, the former also tended to be the portrait of someone you might not want to know, closed-in and unhappy, an interior portrait, maybe, while the latter picture showed someone more open and approachable.

Makes you wonder and in a way that transcends Dove’s initial obvious intent — just who is that tightlipped misery that we imagine ourselves to be? And what are the factors contributing to her unhappy self-portrait? Watch the video below and let us know your thoughts in our comment section.

8 comments on “The Dove Real Beauty viral video you must watch!

  1. It was funny (odd) that this video came up at this time because I had just been thinking to myself “I wish I could like myself as much as my boyfriend does.” He had complimented me and told me how nice I looked and I had a difficult time believing him because I see all my flaws – a little heavier than I want to be, flaws with my skin, my hair not as nice as I would like. I suppose the “usual” feeling we have about ourselves. It is sad that it takes WORK to like ourselves as is. I feel that inside I am a good person, but just wished that I could be kinder to myself. I think that this video shows me that lots of women feel the same way I do. They are all beautiful and it was hard to believe that they had self doubts too.


    • Wow. This affected me quite deeply…brought a tear to my eye. Why are we so hard on ourselves, why don’t we see the beauty our loved ones see in us? We would never describe our daughters, mothers or sisters the way we describe ourselves…this was a real eye opener. I encourage everyone to watch this video and share it.


  2. I was just talking to a friend on something like this.. I said WE see ourselves one way, whereas other people see us differently.. what i see in the mirror, is not what they see… I always say i have so much white hair – they say “what ??” we’re too hard on ourselves.. i had a tear too………..


  3. The real question here is WHY are we so negative about ourselves. Perhaps we think if we described ourselves in a positive light we might be perceived as being vain. Have we been raised to downplay our beautiful features? How many people can graciously accept a compliment…even about their clothes? Think about it…when someone compliments you on something you are wearing how do you reply? How many of you are apt to say “WHAT! This old thing????” Or something along those lines.


  4. There are many things that could be good about this video. But, it reinforces beauty stereotypes by showing women how they DO fall within them. Maybe not from their perspective, but certainly from the perspective of someone else. What about the women who really do look like the descriptions given by participants? And you know they’re out there. This send the message that they are not and that they aren’t acceptable. In addition, if Unilever really wanted to change the underlying notions of personal beauty, they would stop producing the Axe commercials. which completely reinforce them and turn women into objects.

    For a different perspective, check out this article:


  5. Thank you for this video. I had not seen it, and believe it needs to be viewed by women, their family members, and men.
    By women so they can check in with their own self image, how they feel, and how they act in the world as a result of what they have been taught by the people in their lives that either nurtured them or hurt them. My wish for women is to love yourself. To honestly see yourself and become strong in understanding your value is so much more than being merely decorative. Beauty is internal and shows itself when it is first believed. To mothers, grandmothers, sisters, brothers, partners, husbands, be secure enough in our own skin to not inflict harm to those you are to be role models to, protectors of, and lovers, spouses to.
    If you cannot be kind to your children, grandchildren, then I hope they will be strong enough to see and then understand your brokenness and not attach your hurtfulness to their own self worth. If they have… than my sincere hope is they will have someone in their lives that is a strong woman who can show them their value. So they can finally understand they are the only original they might ever get to see. Then a magical thing will occur they will finally understand they are enough. All they can complete the process of becoming all they were meant to be. Men will have been taught in childhood to protect and love and will grow up to nurture and love well.


    • CORRECTION All should have typed Then
      Then they can complete the process of becoming all they were meant to be. ( See no one is perfect :) )


  6. The video brought tears to my eyes. How hard we are on ourselves! I am 60 and should know better but don’t as I am part of a society that wants to stop aging. How sad and pathetic I feel. My partner showed me a pic he had taken of me and commented on how much he loved it and all I could think is how old and ugly I look. He keeps it on the desktop of his iPad and I cringe when I see it. Wow.


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