Dove asked Gil Zamora, an FBI sketch artist, to draw women using only verbal descriptions from both the women and a stranger.

On the left is the woman’s own concept of themselves.

On the right is how a stranger thinks they look.

On the right is how a stranger thinks they look.

On the right is how a stranger thinks they look.

On the right is how a stranger thinks they look.

On the right is how a stranger thinks they look.

2013-04-19

Co.Exist

An FBI Sketch Artist Shows Women They Don't Know How Beautiful They Are

These side-by-side sketches made from women’s own descriptions of themselves versus a strangers are part of Dove’s campaign to help women celebrate their true beauty.

This "social experiment" probably wouldn’t make it through peer review. But it’s great advertising, and gets at a pretty incontrovertible idea: many women have a low opinion of their own appearance.

The ad is for Unilever-owned Dove, the soap brand well known for championing "real beauty." Several women were invited to a San Francisco loft, and asked to describe their looks. FBI-trained artist Gil Zamora, who couldn’t see them, sketched the women based on their description, and then again according to the words of strangers who met them earlier.

In each case, the difference between the drawings is marked. The women all looked better--and more like themselves--in the second sketches. Dove says:

Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. At Dove, we are committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. So, we decided to conduct a compelling social experiment that explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see.

Several commenters have pointed out that not all of Unilever’s advertising is so forgiving to women. But that doesn’t necessarily invalidate Dove’s message here.

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