Real Beauty Sketches

Posted on: 05/2/13 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

This brand new video from Dove was posted on April 14, 2013, and within two weeks it already had over 30 million views. The message of the video is simple: You are more beautiful than you think.

This video documents a little experiment. A forensic artist was asked to draw sketches of women based on their own descriptions. The artist can’t see the women making the descriptions… he just draws what they describe. Then he sketches another drawing based on how others describe these same women. Then we see the images side by side.

Wow!!! Take a peek at this amazing video.

My son Alec was the one who made me aware of this video. One of his ministry classes at Azusa Pacific University discussed it when it was first released and Alec posted it on his Facebook page. This discussion provoker was too good to pass up, so I wrote something you can use to talk with teenagers about this– discussion questions with scripture and a wrap up.

This video is part of Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, which was launched after the company discovered that only 4 percent of women consider themselves beautiful. I have been thoroughly impressed with Dove’s efforts to make women feel better about body image. You might remember their popular “Evolution” video a few years ago (we wrote a self esteem discussion about that one as well).

I’m curious… can you make it through this video without your eyes watering?

What about my women readers? What are your thoughts about this video?

14 Replies to “Real Beauty Sketches”

  1. So I’m sitting behind my desk, crying, as the truth of that washes over me. Thank you for sharing that beautiful video.

  2. Hey Jonathan,
    Wrote a comment on the page with the “discussion page” but will include what I wrote there.
    “When I initially saw this weeks ago, I was like WOW what a great tool to talk to young girls about self-image and I still think that with a few reservations. A woman wrote a comment on the original youtube that challenged the fact that the woman in the video are not heavy, don’t have acne, are primarily white. The message, regardless, is critical, impactful and important. However, the conversation needs to continue about the other issues that we percieve take away from our beauty. What if we had young women write a description of themselves, and then had someone else write a description as well? I don’t know–I love the fact that they did this–love the message and the challenge. Would just have loved the group to be a bit more diverse. Thanks–”
    That being said–I would still advocate for the use of this because it is so powerful and I wonder how many of our young women would even notice what is mentioned above–I didn’t until I read someone elses comment and I’m a plus size woman (I didn’t see me in there). Lots of teachable/shareable moments here! Thanks for the discussion guide–I love them!

    1. It’s interesting how many people are commenting on that– mentioning that these women actually looked good and hinting that they weren’t a good representation. Personally, I really like the choice of women they used. They used very “average” women. They didn’t use models, yet they didn’t use… to quote above… women who are heavy, have acne, etc. I think the purpose was to show that 96% of women (that includes ALL shapes, colors and sizes) think they aren’t beautiful. The video sums it up soooooooo well. “You are more beautiful than you think you are.” I would propose that this is true with the heavy women, the women with acne, etc. as well. They might be heavy… but they still are “more beautiful than they think they are.” (stepping off soapbox)

  3. Hi Jon

    Thanks for keeping us on the edge! I also found the ‘guy’ version – it will also put a tear in your eyes (laughing).


    1. Funny, I saw that too yesterday. When I first saw the female version, I started joking with my wife about how funny it would be to make a guy version…

  4. Wondering if these women used in ad are really representative of
    Average women or models. The women I see daily are not as pleasent looking.

  5. Thank you, Jonathan for making us aware of this powerful video. I posted it on my HS girls life group Facebook page. I look forward to seeing their response. You do an excellent job of keeping a pulse on what is new in the popular culture and media. Thanks so much! I hope you come to the Seattle area soon. God Bless You!

  6. What a message – something we (all women) need to see and hear. That particular video may not include women of all size, shape or color – but the message is VERY clear.

  7. I loved the video the first time I saw it, perhaps because I am middle-age, white, and generally average in appearance. However, when I shared it with a group of 10 year olds, the first comment one of the girls made was “I wish they’d showed that Asian lady closer.” That really got me thinking. Of course, the overall message is excellent, and I am glad Dove chose to do it. Hopefully they’ll notice the “disquiet” about the lack of race and imperfections, and get even better in the future.

  8. So..interestingly enough, I showed this video along with an anti bullying video to my youth group, and we read Scripture and discussed what the world sees as beauty, vs what God sees as beauty. The kids got really into it, enough so that I am doing a “Part 2” this coming Sunday. The thing that blew me away was that I guess I got the message across about God seeing our insides and loving us, etc. bc at the end of the night, one Sophomore boy who is very troubled and I have had a hard time reaching him, came out to me as a Transexual afterwards. (Keep in mind I have been at my current job less than a month.) This is after he mentioned he didn’t know what he looked like really, so it would have been hard for him to describe his features, because he couldn’t stand to look at himself in the mirror. I. Was. Floored. Now this opens up a whole knew experience for us at our church, but I believe it is partially because we used this video, and the lesson that this student can maybe start getting help and not feel so alone anymore.

    1. Shannon… thanks for sharing. That’s awesome that you are there as a person that kids can come to and talk with. Keep up the good work!

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