You Are More Beautiful Than You Think

Usually when I watch videos on YouTube, I’m either:

  1. ecstatic that there isn’t an ad preceding the video
  2. begrudgingly pleased that there is an ad, but I can skip it in 5 seconds
  3. hellfire angry that I have to sit though a 15-30 second ad before I get to watch the kitten video I originally clicked on

While preparing to watch a board game review on YouTube yesterday, I was presented with option 3, and I prepared for my own wrath.

But then something different happened. The ad that appeared was absolutely riveting. It ended up being significantly longer than the video I had planned on watching, and while I can barely remember the original video, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the ad. Here it is:

If you’re reading this at work and can’t watch the video with sound, what you’re watching is an artist drawing women based on their own description and then drawing them based on other women’s descriptions. You can see the difference in the images. Perhaps more notably, you can see that the way the women are described by others is much more similar to how they look in real life than the self-descriptions.

The video has over 23 million views and counting, so this probably isn’t the first you’ve heard of it. I had two basic reactions to the video that I wanted to share, and I’d love to hear what you think about it:

DoveFirst, I’m grateful that Dove created the ad. It feels like an insight into human nature. I think I understand women–and people in general–a little better now. Sometimes I feel like life is a series of events and experiences that help you know how people work. If that’s the purpose of life, I’m all for it.

Second, the ad showed only a few women, so in no way can it represent ALL women. In fact, I’m sure there are women out there whose portraits would be reversed–they would describe themselves as incredibly beautiful, while the rest of the world sees something else.

Regardless, the ad was a great reminder to me that I judge people (especially women) way too often based on how they look. I see a woman wearing too much makeup and I think she’s insecure. I see a woman with an orange tan-bed tan and I think she’s oblivious and naive. I see a woman in an outdated dress and I think of her as out of touch.

I do this all the time, not just with women, but with people in general, and it has to stop. Because the way a person looks has nothing to do with who they are. In fact, as the video shows, sometimes they way they look is the exact opposite of who they are.

I want to be the type of person who learns about people by talking with them and seeing how they interact with others, not the type of person that decides who people are based on a quick glance at the mole on their face or the brand of their jeans. I want to be the type of person who sees the kindness in someone’s eyes, not the globs of mascara on their lashes. I want to be the type of person who looks at a person and sees a fellow human being, a partner in this life that we’re all so incredibly lucky to live.

Thanks, Dove, for making me watch your ad.

If you’re looking for a light way to end this conversation, watch this parody on how men view themselves. It’s scarily accurate despite the humorous intent.