Monday, April 22, 2013

Beauty Lies

While waiting to click the "Skip" link on a Youtube video, I was pulled into a video production that simply moved me in a way that few Youtube sponsors can.  Recently Dove released a video featuring a forensics sketch artist and a group of women who were asked to describe their appearance to him through with the sketch artist seeing them.  As the video progresses, we learn that the women all had an additional assignment - to get to know one of the other women participating in the project.  Once the women each described themselves, another woman in the group would describe one other woman.  The end result was two separate sketches of each woman.  A personal description and a description from a stranger.

The results were eye opening as it seemed each woman described herself in a manner that resulted in less flattering images, but when described by another woman, each participant's image appeared to embody more beauty.

I immediately internalized this video the moment I saw it and thought back to all the times I told a woman she was beautiful only to receive a response like, "whatever" or "oh, you're just saying that because you're my boyfriend."  In one moment I replayed the numerous times that I meant every word I said to a woman only to have my sincere observations dismissed and wondered would my experiences have been different in the past if some of the women I encountered saw this video.

No, I'm not about to start a rant about how women should think highly of themselves and embrace their true beauty.  Instead my only message during this sermon is simply, shut the hell up, smile from ear to ear, give a cute head tilt, sincerely say thank you and maybe offer a hug the next time someone compliments you.  This video should serve as a reminder that beauty truly lies in the eye of the beholder and that all of the lenses we view life through should be respected and in this case appreciated.  It also adds a profound commentary to the age old battle that women have been fighting forever - self image.

Although this project didn't include men and probably wasn't the most scientific, it was interesting to see the participant's responses as they viewed the final drawings.  Each woman fell into silence with a few appearing a bit choked up when viewing the contrasting images.  Upon seeing the images, each woman appeared to have received a wake-up call and I'd like to think it changed their perspective on their own interpretations of self-image.

As a man watching this amazing video I felt validated in relation to all the times I got upset when a woman devalued my words.  It drove me nuts and at times still does, but now I have something to fight back with.

I challenge everyone who sees this video to tell someone they are beautiful today and if the person rejects your words, show them this video.  Hell, show it to them even if they acknowledge your statement.  I usually steer clear of women's issues around beauty and appearance, but I have to tip my hands to Dove for creating such a wonderful piece.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I was very intentional in using some nifty word play in the title of this article.

Beauty Lies...


Note:  The original version of this article featured stronger language, but I decided to tone it down for the sake of maintaining a positive vibe throughout the article.  But if you really must know, substitute the first hell with any other word of your choice!  I really did feel some kind of way when I thought back to pervious experiences.  Oh well...their loss.

Disclaimer: Steve is an employee of Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner, however the views expressed in this post are of my own.

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