In the video, women realize that other people see them as more beautiful than they see themselves. Oh my god, I’m prettier than I thought! Sounds touching, but Dove found itself in hot water with one critic saying, “Here we go again, with Dove pretending to empower women to love their bodies with the big honking caveat that you should love your body only when you’re more conventionally attractive than you realize.”
The subliminal message that Dove is sending is that to feel happy, confident, and beautiful you have to be, or be recognized for being, physically attractive. So this “real” beauty is still defined by standards of desirability rather than this idea of possessing enduring beauty from the inside out that offsets any possible physical flaws.
There are so many campaigns and advertisements for us to flaunt our natural beauty (even though this means seven steps of makeup application just to look “natural,” an idea that by that point no longer exists), to be ourselves, to be “real.” Are any of these things actually authentic if the reason we seek to achieve them is because there is such stigma and shame placed upon anything that is unnatural or unreal? It's a lose-lose scenario. Think of the degrading way women speak about one another, especially when it comes to perceived fakeness. "Oh, her boobs aren't real" or in contrast, "She's not even a woman - look at how small her tits are!" If it's not "real", it's not beautiful. And if it's not desirable and attractive according to society's standards, it's not beautiful. We're doomed to feel ugly.
Oh so natural.
Image source: wwd.com