Crows feet. Wrinkles. Freckles. Plain.
Each one of the words is just an allusion to what we do not have. Flawless skin. Exotic looks. Glimmering eyes. A dimple.
In Dove Soap’s new ad, the cosmetics company hires a police sketch artist and asks him to draw two pictures of the same woman: One from her own perspective, and another from one of a stranger. The disparity in the results is striking, but not at all surprising.
The opinions of a stranger can be illuminating. What they don’t see, their points of no concern, seem to be the ones we all linger on in the mirror, not just the women chosen for the ad — make no mistake, we are all the women in the ad, regardless of our gender.
The mole. The freckles. They mean nothing when taken as a whole. A stranger sees that, knows that. Within a couple of minutes, a perfect stranger, unimpeded by what someone used to look like, thought they look like, or wished they looked like, can gather the essence of one’s beauty. The things that become magnified in a life of microscopic inspection get relegated to minutiae.
It almost seems wrong to call it an ad, it is more of a public service announcement. After all, where is the pitch, where is the sell? If at all present, the product being sold is not some tangible object like a bar of soap. Instead, they are selling the inherent beauty within all of us. All people are beautiful. Living in itself is the most beautiful thing imaginable, and since we are all here, Dove is telling us to bask in the beauty of ourselves. For a company that has capitalized primarily from an external object used for beautification to release an ad like this is quite commendable. In a way, Dove is trying to tell you that you don’t need Dove.
All though everybody will surely take something different out of these six minutes, I hope everybody shares this message: That beauty is eternal. Beauty is not external, it is within us. If we can unlock that, we can unlock anything, and we can all be beautiful forever.