I’ve seen this video by Dove about “Real Beauty” a couple of times now. It seems to be making the rounds of social media. Good for Dove. So now, I’m examining the whole thing a little more closely, without the initial impact of the first viewing, and coming up with some additional thoughts and conclusions.
The first time viewer is hit with a very emotional impact of how women tend to see themselves as “less beautiful” than other people who see them. Watching it the second time, just now, I realized that we are taught as children to not brag about ourselves…to be humble. That to think of ourselves as “beautiful” is arrogant, or stuck up, or shallow. And because we are such visual beings, we do take first impressions off what someone looks like, before we have an opportunity (if we do) to talk to them, or learn who they are as a person, and not just a physical body. Remember your elders telling you: “Never judge a book by it’s cover.”
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is so evident in this exercise. But it can be hard to see or realize our own personal beauty. And I think that’s in large part due to our culture.
And I think about any famous beauty…pick whoever you want – Audrey Hepburn (didn’t we just read in her son’s book that she didn’t think she was beautiful), Elizabeth Taylor, Cindy Crawford, Iman, Halle Berry, and on and on, and I’ll bet you in each case, this exercise would turn out the same differences in 2 drawings- maybe even more pronounced with these women – considering they are bombarded with agents, photographers, directors, casting agents, etc. who are constantly making judgement calls on what is “beautiful,” what the public will buy, what will sell a particular product, or movie or TV show….and in essence… picking them apart, inch by inch.
Haven’t we all felt that way in an audition at some point, especially as females, whether for on-camera or voiceover? In this business of image, we are certainly judged very quickly for what we immediately bring to the table, and often don’t get an opportunity to be seen for more than what’s just on the surface.
As women, especially in this age and culture, it’s difficult to understand how to keep a positive self image, and not step over some line that is repulsive in the other direction. If asked, wouldn’t we all downplay much of what others might perceive as a beautiful characteristic, and point out the things that we think (or have been told) make us less beautiful? Aren’t there thousands of plastic surgeons out there that will examine any face, and tell you how they can “fix” you to make you MORE beautiful?
I’m rambling here, as I’m pondering this whole concept. But I do think that although this exercise makes a great statement about how we see ourselves differently, and perhaps through a more critical lens that others looking in, it doesn’t really surprise me.
Could you even describe your features to someone like that without a mirror in front of you? I think that would be hard to do. Just my own, personal Debbie Thought.
Debbie Grattan is a Voiceover Artist with over 20 years of professional voiceover recording experience. She has partnered with hundreds of production companies, marketing and advertising firms, commercial voiceover recording studios and corporate/business clients around the United States and abroad. Check out her Voiceover Demos Page and request a complimentary voiceover services audition for an upcoming project.