Do you know what the Dove Real Beauty campaign is about?

Earlier this week I attended a high tea to chat about the Dove Real Beauty campaign. There were no products launched, nothing new to be punted, we were actually just there to chat about the campaign.

I’ll get this out of the way and say that I did go with my sceptic’s hat on. It’s a marketing campaign, after all, so it’s meant to work in their favour. I’m not that naive, and I was annoyed with the Real Beauty Sketches campaign when I first saw it. But then I figured they could have spent their millions on any kind of campaign, and they chose to spend it on campaign with a positive message. When I saw some of the survey figures, the Real Beauty Sketches also makes more sense. So on we go.

What is Dove Real Beauty about?

In a nutshell it’s about you and me and how we see ourselves. It’s about not being so critical, not blaming society and the media and whatever else, and looking at ourselves with kind, accepting eyes. I don’t know one woman (myself included) that doesn’t have a bunch of issues with her looks – dimpled thighs and cankles and frizzy hair and freckles and a large forehead and masculine hands and fat arms and crow’s feet and now I’m so ugly I’m going out in a king size sheet tonight.

The ad below features South African women:

The numbers are scary

In 2004, 2% of women surveyed (total just under 7000) said they found themselves beautiful. In 2010, the number raised to 4%. I struggle with that, and a valid point was raised in the discussion afterwards – do we really not thing we’re beautiful, or will we just not admit that we think so for fear of being seen as vain?

The beauty in others

There was a life coach at the event and before you could say self esteem, we were doing some exercises. And what do you know, it’s not that easy writing down 5 beautiful things about yourself. It feels conceited, vain and almost wrong. It was very easy to compliment the person next to me, and that was the point – we can easily see the beauty in others, but not so much in ourselves. I’d like you to please, please watch this vid below – it brought tears to my eyes. It’s only about 90 seconds, and it shows so well how we’ll build up our friends, sisters (and honestly, sometimes even random strangers), but how hard we can be on ourselves (if also features SA women).

Confidence vs Beauty

The figures for confidence are pretty high – about 75% of women feel confident in their abilities, but not nearly as much feel confident in their beauty. Is this maybe where the shift took place? Have we been so focused on putting our feet down and becoming strong, independent women that are equals – on not being seen as the weaker sex – that we don’t want to see ourselves as beautiful? If I have to choose I’ll take being strong, independent and smart over being pretty – but does one necessarily have to budge?

Dove Real Beauty says Love the skin you're in
Dove Real Beauty says Love the skin you’re in. You see, here I can point out that the way the cardi falls on the right is making my waist look humungous, I apparently have no eyes or upper lip, I have a ridiculous regrowth (I’m coming, Shelene!) and HELLO double chin – because that’s how I look at a picture of myself. But I can also choose to point out my pretty dimples, my rosy cheeks and clear skin, my delicate fingers and my straight nose. I’ve broken it, and not even a dent.

The moral of the story

The message I take from this is not about traditional beauty, but how we see ourselves, refer to ourselves, speak of ourselves. It’s not about looking a certain way, but about liking ourselves and not being so critical of what we see in the mirror. It’s about telling young girls that their freckles/curves/brown eyes/short legs/pale skin/dark skin/button nose/large feet are beautiful (but don’t forget to tell them about being, clever, funny, strong-willed or whatever else suits them).

I dare you

To comment with 3 physical attributes you love about yourself. I’ll delete any negatives, don’t even bother with them.

C xx




  1. Sep 6, 2013 / 10:32 AM

    My lashes, my nails, my skin (for the moment…) 🙂

  2. Sep 6, 2013 / 10:43 AM

    I LOVE YOUR HAIR! It’s so super cute! I tried to cut mine…chopped a whole 5cm off. *hides face* As for that dare… Hands, feet and…nails. Can I comment with 3 about you now? 😛

  3. Sep 8, 2013 / 4:15 PM

    I love the soft wrinkles around my eyes, the laughter lines around my mouth and the new shades of silver that is appearing in my hair.

  4. Sep 9, 2013 / 11:24 AM

    Don’t forget your hair. It looks super thick and healthy! 🙂

    Okay 3 things. Mmm… My butt, my eyebrows & my nose. 🙂

    • Sep 9, 2013 / 11:33 AM

      Yay! Well done, and I’ll absolutely inspect your butt first thing when we meet 🙂 And thank you (but see how easy it is on other people?)

  5. Sep 9, 2013 / 11:30 AM

    Okay here I go. My legs, because they just stay long, thin and toned-ish even with no exercise (bonus). And my eyes. I know that’s only two, but the legs took me 0.5 seconds to think of. AND MY BEAUTIFUL SMILE – ED ;P

    • Sep 9, 2013 / 11:36 AM

      Well done. And there you go, now you have three 🙂

  6. Sep 9, 2013 / 3:37 PM

    I love my legs, my bum (cellulite free – thank you good genes) and my white teeth 🙂 wow, I sound vain! Lol

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