Are You Beautiful or Average?

Are You Beautiful or Average?

Lauren PesinTuesday,14 April 2015

Dove decided to make that very question an experiment. In five cities (San Francisco, Shanghai, Delhi, London and Sao Paulo), Dove placed signs above side-by-side doors marked “beautiful” and “average.” They asked women to choose.

The complete results are still being calculated via YouTube votes, where you can watch the video “Choose Beautiful” and choose for yourself. In addition to the doorway signs and the video, Dove interviewed over 6,000 women who indicated most women (96%) think they are average.

Some women in the video contemplated, were forced by Mom or friends or persuaded to choose beautiful although they felt average. Other women chose beautiful without a second thought. The interesting part is that women of all shapes and sizes and various levels of what society typically thinks of as beautiful had the same anguish and self doubt as others. The results were not determined by how “beautiful” the choosers actually were. Their decision was determined by how “beautiful” they felt.

As a woman, who has always struggled with her own perception of beauty (but chose beautiful), the results are not surprising to me.

There has been dissent from some observers of this experiment who question the logic of asking women to publicly choose beauty, particularly when women are made up of much more than one trait.

Dove is known for campaigns (including this one) that try to perpetuate the view that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, shades, and characteristics. Although some argue that this campaign is unfair to women, I say we should consider what beautiful is.

Is beautiful more than the physical? Are traits and behavior, such as kindness, compassion, intellect, and innovation beautiful?

If Dove compiled a list that included everything “we” find beautiful, what would be on that list? What if next time Dove posted the list beside the doors and then asked people to choose beautiful? What do you think the results would say then?

I wonder what would happen if people separated the belief that beauty is just how people perceive you physically. Do you think the results would be drastically different? Why?

This campaign also made me wonder about how men would fair in this poll. Although (in my opinion) the same concept of beauty is not shoved down the throats of men, as it is a constant barrage to women, I think men still have the same kind of body image issues. If a random sampling of friends and family are any indication, men are just as insecure and self-conscious when it comes to judging how good-looking they are. Also, men generally see beautiful as a term exclusive to the female gender. This belief possibly indicates some schooling is required for the male population as well. Do you think men would choose beautiful?

We all know that a positive attitude about ourselves (be it beauty or anything else) is an attitude we should strive for, but more so than that, what does the choice between “beautiful” and “average” say about us?

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Image Credit: Flickr

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