Dove has released a new film to inspire women in the UK to reconsider the choices they make about their beauty after finding that a staggering 96% of women do not choose the word ‘beautiful’ to describe how they look.
They are asking us to #ChooseBeautiful.
Dove believes feeling beautiful is a personal choice women should feel empowered to make for themselves, every day.
Through a candid, eye-opening film shot in London, as well as four other cities: Delhi, San Francisco, Shanghai and Sao Paolo – Dove’s “Choose Beautiful” campaign encourages women worldwide to reconsider the choices they make about their beauty and how those choices make them feel.
The Dove Choose Beautiful film captures real women considering their own beauty.
The women are challenged with revealing the way they see themselves by being invited to choose to walk through one door entitled ‘Average’ or another entitled ‘Beautiful’, with their reactions documented throughout.
I have certainly struggled to choose beautiful for most of my life and now, as a 50-year-old with a 7-year-old daughter, I am determined that she will not be programmed by the nonsense that surrounds the quest for the ‘perfect’ face and figure.
|50 and I #ChooseBeautiful|
I can remember exactly when the doubts set in.
I was bullied in primary school by some particularly obnoxious boys who used to call me “boot face”.
To this day, that phrase hurts.
Then I went through the awkward teenage years sporting red hair and black National Health glasses.
With the hindsight of age, of course, I now understand that kids call each other hurtful names, that everyone has their cross to bear in terms of appearance, that everyone has a part of their body that they hate and are convinced is so awful everyone else must surely notice.
My parents used to tell me “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” but this, in many ways, is a half-truth.
How many times have you been told that you are beautiful, that you look stunning, or any other compliment offered by a brave partner?
I say brave because many of us will reject the compliment out of hand, hurting their feelings and making them feel dumb for even daring to voice it! “How can you say that, look at the state of my hair” or “I’ve put on so much weight” and on and on…..
It doesn’t matter how many times you are told you are beautiful, if you don’t believe it then you will not choose beautiful.
It is possible though, playing devil’s advocate, that sometimes not choosing beautiful is an excuse for not being courageous, for hiding out, not achieving or joining in or growing as a person.
In the same way that denying we are ‘good enough’ in other aspects of our lives carries psychological ‘rewards’, not choosing beautiful allows many of us to stay safe.
It is as if we have wrapped ourselves in a cloak of invisibility, too terrified to come out in case life doesn’t quite meet our expectations.
Overwhelmingly, Dove’s film reveals that women often struggle with recognising their own beauty and find it difficult to Choose Beautiful.
One woman (Olivia) says she was “reluctant to choose the ‘Beautiful’ door”, as she thought onlookers would assume she had an “exaggerated sense of self-confidence.”
But choosing beautiful isn’t an act of vanity, but one of courage.
Choosing to see yourself in a way that most women don’t is a brave choice, not an easy one.
British Top Life Coach and Psychologist for women, Natalie Thomas, says that it saddens her to see that so many amazing women in this film felt that they should accept ‘Average’ as a way to describe themselves.
We Brits, in particular, have a tendency to downplay our talents for fear of being judged, instead focusing on the negative aspects of ourselves.
There is a lovely moment in the film when the British mother encourages her daughter to walk through the “Beautiful” door.
This, to me, is what mothers should be doing for their daughters, ensuring that young women’s self-esteem is always higher than their self-doubt.
At 7, Caitlin is already aware of the concept of ‘pretty’.
It is very hard to escape the, in my view, over-sexualised portrayal of female characters in cartoons and TV programmes on children’s channels.
And then there are children’s magazines, the girls’ magazines in particular awash with pink plastic and glitter.
|I’ll be teaching my daughter to choose beautiful|
I see my role as guiding her through this maze of often warped perceptions, giving her confidence in her own appearance whilst still allowing her to enjoy being a girl.
There is a delicate balance, isn’t there between enjoying dressing up and (later!) make-up.
It’s fine I think if these are used to enhance and hone but not if make-up becomes a mask which hides who we truly are.
I remember realising that, after leaving work to have Caitlin and no longer having to wear make up every day that it had become a mask.
It was almost as if the act of applying make-up in the morning turned me into someone else – someone who wasn’t me.
It was like armour, a defence against others’ judgement.
As Natalie Thomas says, “The messages that young girls receive from the most important people around them between the ages of 11-17 can often set up their sense of self-esteem for life, and the way the mother positively reinforced her daughter serves as a shining example of the message we should be sending to young girls.
As a nation, we need to be encouraging individuals to accept and project the inherent beauty that exists within.”
Dove’s Marketing Manager, Ali Fisher says that the film urges women to embrace this choice and inwardly challenge our tendency to not ‘choose beautiful’ because when we do it unlocks happiness and confidence that impacts our self-esteem.
And as the film’s director, Paul Dektor says, “we all have the personal and powerful ability to rise above others’ points of view, social media, and pop culture, and I hope the Dove Choose Beautiful film inspires women around the world to reconsider how they view their own beauty.”
Beautiful is a choice. One you make every day. Will you choose beautiful?
Watch Dove Choose Beautiful on YouTube and make your choice. Choose what makes you feel beautiful, choose it often, and share it with the world.
Dove has long been committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.
Dove hopes to inspire women to develop a positive relationship with beauty because when women recognize the beauty in themselves, they have a powerful ability to positively impact the next generation.
The Dove Self-Esteem Project has reached over 1.5 million young people in the UK with self-esteem building programmes.