Dove does it again. In a recently released short film, Real Beauty Sketches, Dove conducted a social experiment involving seven women, several strangers and Gil Zamora, an FBI-trained forensic artist. Each woman was asked to enter a room and answer questions about her appearance to Zamora (a curtain separated the two), while he produced a sketch based on her answers. Afterward, he produced a second sketch with the aid of a stranger who’d spent a few minutes with the woman.
The results were dramatic. Sketches based on the women’s own descriptions show them with wrinkles, shaggy eyebrows, puffy cheeks and dark eye circles. Sketches based on the stranger’s descriptions, however, were much more flattering – and much more accurate.
Renee Engeln, senior psychology lecturer and founder of the Body and Media lab at Northwestern University, commented: “Many women see their bodies as a compilation of unacceptable features – thighs that are too big, arms that jiggle, cheekbones that aren’t high enough, lips that are too thin… They’re sensitive to every minor deviation from the ideal and can’t see anything but those ‘flaws’ when they look in the mirror. But this type of intense scrutiny doesn’t capture the way other people see us.”
Further evidence that perhaps most of us are our own worst critics.