Skincare company Dove is famous for their commercials celebrating the beauty all women have on the inside and outside. Their latest commercial offers women in several different countries and cities, the opportunity to walk through one of two doors. One says "average" and the other says "beautiful." The question: Which would you pick? See the commercial below:
It's quite stunning, right? And moving. And all the things we would hope it to be. As the mother of two little girls I find devastatingly beautiful, I know it would break my heart to hear them say they are "average." And yet I also would love to see them not care about looks at all. To be somehow beyond that. To be asked to categorize ourselves, lends credence to the idea that we are what we look like when the truth is, we are so much more.
"Beauty is only skin deep." It's a cliche, but it's also true. We are emotions and intelligence and passion and interests that transcend beauty and matter so much more and yet we are asked to define ourselves in terms of the way we look. Always.
Even this commercial, though it has its heart in the right place and starts a very crucial conversation, is asking women to choose based on the way they look. Or maybe the real question at the heart of the commercial is this: What is beauty? Is it pouty lips and high cheekbones and thick hair and a perfect body? Or is it something else?
The press release from Dove, includes this: "A staggering 96 percent of women do not choose the word ‘beautiful’ to describe how they look." I did a little impromptu survey and asked some friends to define themselves. No one picked beautiful. We have so many other words: pretty, sexy, hot, attractive. But "beautiful"? That is reserved for the Claudia Schiffers of the world.
Maybe we women need to look at beauty a little differently. Yes, we are all "beautiful" in our own ways. But we also don't even need to use that word. Maybe we are inquisitive. Or intelligent. Or exciting. Or passionate. Maybe we have so many other things in our lives that whether or not we are beautiful or average doesn't even factor into our thought process. And maybe that's what I want for my daughters.
My oldest daughter is a hard worker and someone who always wants things just so. She loves to dress monochromitically and today wore all red.
"You look like a tomato," I told her. And the second the words came out of my mouth, I felt badly. She did look like a tomato, but she was expressing herself. She was feeling beautiful. So I changed and told her how creative she was and how much I loved that she wanted to dress all in one color. She was feeling good about herself. And that is beautiful.
Personally, I want my girls to find the side door where they don't have to define themselves in any way. Where they love themselves so much for what's on the inside, they give very little thought at all to the exterior.
What door would you choose?
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