Dove reveals women are their own worst beauty critics

A new film from Dove reveals the dramatic difference between how women view themselves and how others perceive them.

Dove two sketches of woman in self-esteem initiative

The way women depict themselves is dramatically different from how others perceive them. Over half of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic1.

Dove is committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety and in response has conducted a compelling social experiment to illustrate how this problem manifests.

Documented in the short film, Real Beauty Sketches, Dove explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see.

Challenging self perception

The film features FBI-trained forensic artist Gil Zamora creating composite sketches of seven women, based entirely on how they describe themselves. Gil didn’t see the women before starting his sketches – the drawings were based purely on their own comments.

Prior to their session with the artist, each of the women were unexpectedly asked to spend a short period of time with a stranger without being told why. Gil then drew a second sketch of each woman – but this time taken from the strangers’ descriptions.

There was a marked difference between the two drawings. Most of the sketches drafted from the strangers’ point of view showed a more beautiful, happier and frequently more accurate portrayal of the women. The results show clearly how when it comes to the way they look, the biggest beauty pressure is the pressure they put on themselves.

"When I was asked to be a part of the film for Dove, I never imagined how different the two sketch portrayals would be" said Gil.

"What has stayed with me are the emotional reactions the women had when they viewed the composite sketches hung side by side. I think many of these brave women realised that they had a distorted self-perception that had affected parts of their lives in significant ways”.

Reconsidering beauty

“We conducted this social experiment and produced a film to reinforce our commitment to fostering self-esteem in women,” adds Fernando Machado, Global Brand Vice President Dove Skin.

“We hope it will inspire women to reconsider their beauty and understand how other people see them.”

Dove believes that when women look and feel their best, they feel happier. The Dove Real Beauty

Sketches campaign encourages women to reassess how they see themselves.

1 Dove Research: The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited

Back to top

Connect with us

We're always looking to connect with those who share an interest in a sustainable future.

Contact us

Get in touch with Unilever and specialist teams in our headquarters, or find contacts around the world.

Contact us