The Next

University of Washington


Beauty Isn’t Everything: Dove Campaign Misses the Mark

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A recent ad campaign by Dove, called Real Beauty Sketches, puts the focus on women’s perception of beauty—specifically, their own. The women in the ad campaign describe themselves to a forensic artist, who sketches them. They are then described by strangers to the same artist, who sketches a more beautiful portrait. The point, of course, is that women are highly self-critical, and they are all more beautiful than they think they are.

The message is undoubtedly supposed to be heartwarming, but it’s attracted its fair share of criticism as well. A blogger wrote this elegant response to the campaign, concluding that the campaign reinforces narrow (and notably white) beauty standards, and continues to emphasize physical beauty as the primary source of a woman’s value.

Her conclusion speaks for itself:

“What you look like should not affect the choices that you make. …You will always feel like you fall short, because those standards are designed to keep you constantly pressured into buying things like make up and diet food and moisturizer to reach an unattainable goal. Don’t let your happiness be dependent on something so fickle and cruel and trivial. You should feel beautiful, and Dove was right about one thing: you are more beautiful than you know. But please, please hear me: you are so, so much more than beautiful.

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