Thursday, 18 April 2013

DOVE REAL BEAUTY SKETCHES: How you see yourself vs how others see you

I have little white dots under my eyes. I think that they might be milia but maybe it is just my skin. In high school, for some reason, it really bothered me. I remember smothering thick layers of moisturiser on the skin in the hope that it would smooth it out. In hind sight, if it was milia, then that would have just made the problem worse. Now I have accepted that is just how my skin looks.

Other little things also used to annoy me about my skin - the presence of pores, an uneven complexion and the like. Some time in my mid 20's I had two light bulb moments. The first one was that I realise that when I study my skin in the mirror to find imperfections that annoy me, I do so at a distance of about 15cm. When I talk to someone it is usually at a distance of at least 2 metres (unless they are a damn close talker!). I then stood 2 metres away from the mirror and check out my imperfections and they really weren't that noticeable. I also realised that when I talk to someone I stare at their eyes or mouth - I really couldn't tell you what the rest of their face looked like. As I soon as I realised that, it occurred to me that they would be doing the same to me.

The second light bulb moment I had was that I had been comparing myself to air brushed models in magazines (I wrote a whole post on how Photoshop distorted my perception of normal). As soon as it occured to me that no one's skin is that flawless I finally fell in love with myself and became comfortable in my skin and much less critical of my perceived flaws.

Dove has released a really interesting campaign highlighting just how harshly we tend to view ourselves. They did a global beauty study and found that only 4 % of us regard ourselves as beautiful. To prove how distorted our views of ourselves have become, Dove did  little experiment with a FBI trained forensic artist. Without realising that they were being drawn, women were asked a series of questions to describe their features. From these descriptions the artist drew an image of what the woman would look like. The women were then paired up and sent away to get to know each other. They were then called back in to the artist and were again questioned but this time about the woman they had just gotten to know. Finally, they were presented with the two images - how they saw themselves and how others saw them. The woman's reaction to the images is very moving and you can see it in the video below (it goes for 3 minutes).

If you have 6 1/2 minutes to spare then the extended video is below:

Finally, you can view each woman's reaction to her sketch.

Here is Melinda's video:

Kela's video

Florence's video:

Gil Zemora, the forensic artist, describes his experience with the Dove capmaign

What are your thoughts on these videos? How do you view yourself? Are you in the 4% who think that they are beautiful or are you too critical with your appearance. I have to say that I do think that I am beautiful. I am realistic enough to know that I couldn't make a living from my looks but I am very happy with how I look.