A friend posted this on Facebook recently, and it really shook me up. Maybe you’ve seen it. Click on the blog title.
The skincare brand Dove did an experiment: women came one by one into a large, airy room and sat behind a curtain from a forensic police sketch artist. They didn’t know what he was doing there, and he could not see them. He asked them to describe themselves, and he sketched them according to their descriptions.
Then the women were paired with random strangers and told to make friends with them, chat, find out about each other. Then the strangers came into the room and described the women for the artist to sketch.
Oh, my, I’m tearing up again. Watch the video; you’ll see what I mean. The women were then shown the two sketches–of how they described themselves, then how the strangers described them. The reactions on their faces said it all: “I look… happy.” One woman just wanted to be held by her boyfriend. Most were teary, all were somber.
One woman summed it up best: “The way we view ourselves affects everything: the friends we have, how we treat our children, the types of jobs we apply for.” That this ad came from the same company–Unilever–that uses misogynistic and objectifying ads for its Axe products is rather mystifying, but that aside, this ad is truly transforming, and I applaud Dove for making it.
I was so moved that I showed it to Lily. She is always amazed when I’m moved to tears, and this was no exception. She’s young enough that she doesn’t have the body image angst that older girls have–which seems to be hitting them younger and younger these days–but on rare occasions she’ll think she looks “stupid” or “fat” (she’s not!). I wanted to show her the difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us.
Lily is, by every measure, a cutie pie. People stop us on the street to talk about how freakin’ cute she is. This has actually always bothered me somewhat, as it begins an obsession with the perceived importance of looks. Yes, she is terribly cute, but I always add–within her earshot–that she is also incredibly brave, smart, funny, and kind. Still, I know that even as enlightened as she is, and as supportive as her grandmas, father, and I are, she may well have body issues one day.
So Lily and I talked about the real message of the Dove commercial–that we should see ourselves as others see us. As Source sees us–which is perfection. What the strangers were seeing in these women was their God essence. If we could see that in ourselves, we would be much happier and accomplish great things. If we could see that in others–not just those we were told to make friends with, but even those we disagree with–well, see my previous post. Events like the tragedies in Boston and Newtown would not be possible.