When the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” video went viral, women were weeping in front of their computer screens across the globe. “While watching it, I kept thinking, ‘That’s me!’” says Anne H., a college sophomore.
Rinna B., a pre-school teacher, shares: “It was touching. I cried. It's true—I have a poor image of myself. I don't think I have good looks.”
Mom of two Kathy Wu shares, “The Dove video brought tears to my eyes because it hit close to home. I saw myself as well as my friends in it, both in the role of the woman who can't acknowledge her own beauty as well as the role of the woman who easily finds the beauty in others.”
The phenomenal Dove Real Beauty Sketches video documented FBI-trained forensic artist Gil Zamora creating composite sketches of seven women who were hidden behind a curtain, using their self-descriptions as the basis of his drawings. Before the sketching session, each woman was asked to spend a short period of time with a stranger without being told why. Zamora then drafted sketches from the stranger’s depictions. Most of the sketches drafted from the stranger’s point of view showed a more beautiful, happier, and amazingly, more accurate portrayal of the women than the one based on their own description—driving home the point that when it comes to how we look, we are our own worst critics.
Says Wu, “I don't know why it is easier to for us (women) to appreciate someone else's physical traits and to focus on our negligible ‘flaws’ that, more often than not, exist only in our minds. Is it because we've been taught from such a young age to be modest, and that bringing up anything positive about ourselves or our achievements is ‘mayabang’? Have we been conditioned to reject compliments until not only has [our negative view] become second nature to us, but we have also started believing it as the truth?”
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The fact that so many women relate so closely to the Dove video tells us that the biggest beauty pressure is the pressure we put on ourselves. Indeed, we are more beautiful than we think.
The good news is, there seems to be a noticeable shift in how women perceive themselves. In a recent survey, Yahoo! Philippines asked, “Do you think you’re beautiful?” Out of the 4,676 people who responded, 70% answered yes—representing an overwhelming boost in confidence among our readers.
One video might not be enough to change our perspective entirely, but it’s a great start. Here are more ways to embrace your beauty and shush the nega vibes: