In 2010, Dove did a study on women’s perception of their beauty, in which women were asked if they would describe themselves as beautiful. Only 4% of the respondents claimed they had any beauty. Four women out of every one hundred women see the beauty inside. Is anybody else as horrified by that statistic as I am?

 I look around and see beauty in every woman. It is not always what society would deem beautiful. Sometimes it is a depth of color in her hair, sometimes it is a nice smile, sometimes it is a sparkle in her eyes. Sometimes it is what’s in her heart.  Each and every one of us is beautiful in someone’s eyes.  

 What we can learn to do is accept ourselves as we are.  If we throw out what society thinks, and focus on our strengths, we can grow to value our own beauty. Recognizing that mass media has messaged women on the negative aspects of their beauty, since before they were teens, Dove worked to change the way they advertised. Dove launched an advertising campaign called Real Beauty, featuring a police sketch artist. The artist first drew a woman, based on her description of herself; then drew another picture of her based on a description conveyed by someone she had just chatted with. The pictures are displayed side by side. The ad featured a number of women, and in each case, the woman’s description of herself emphasized her bad features.  The description given by the acquaintance gave a more holistic view, showing both the good and the bad features, resulting in a lovelier image which was much closer to the way the woman actually looked. Many women are driven to tears when they view the commercial (click here to see it)

 Dove continues to try and boost self-esteem with a project aimed at kids 8-16 years old. Working with parents and educators, Dove tries to bridge a positive relationship between the kids and the way they look. But the work is huge – eight out of ten teens choose to miss events because they are concerned about the way they look.

 I applaud Dove for working against the tide, and for recognizing that something needs to change. I support the Rodan and Fields efforts to redefine beauty, which I will cover in Beauty is not only skin deep, part two,  to post next week.

 My two week challenge to readers is to take one minute, every morning for the next two weeks, to look in the mirror and tell yourself what is right with your face. I challenge you to take it  a step farther, and tell yourself that you are worthy, and that you love yourself. Because you are worthy, and you are beautiful. My hope is that you learn to see this in yourself, and that you will feel more confident and self-assured