the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

The Sequence That They Edited Out From the Dove Video

The Title of this article from Hollywood.com says it all, “Dove Video PROVES women are more beautiful than they think!”

But was it truly proven? Citizen of the Month was able to obtain certain material that was edited out of the final video, such as this interview with LAURA, a thirty-five year old accountant and mother of two from North Hollywood, California.

Dove: “A forensic artist wants to draw a sketch of you. He is hidden in another room. Please describe yourself to him.”

Laura: “Well, let’s see. I am decent enough for someone my age. But I never really liked my chin. My friends used to call me “Jay Leno.” I’ve also gained some weight since college. I’ve never liked my big nose, and my hair is too curly and unmanageable. On a scale from 1-10, I would rate myself a 5. I wish I were prettier. My mother never thought I was pretty. She always told me to stop slouching. I slouch too much. I’m disappointed in myself and the way I look.”

Dove: “Interesting. Now, while you were in the waiting room, you were sitting next to another woman. Her name is Cheryl. The forensic artist now wants to make a sketch of her based on your description. Please give him your honest description of Cheryl.”

Laura: “Cheryl? That woman in the waiting room? Wow! That woman looks like she’s really let herself go. She was dressed in clothes off the rack from Walmart. Girl, at least go to Marshall’s and find something half-decent! She was — I can only describe her as fat, like she hasn’t walked a block in years. She needs to go to the gym. I would never let myself go like that. I mean my chin is bad, but at least I exercise. And what’s with her eyes? Is she cross-eyed? Her thick glasses certainly don’t help. Contacts, baby, contacts! She needs a fashion makeover ASAP, and cosmetic surgery or at least some Botox. She’s probably only around forty, but looks more like sixty-five. I feel bad for her husband. All in all, she made me feel more way prettier in contrast. I guess I’m not so bad.”

Dove: Uh, thank you.

[sequence deleted from film]

Moral of the story: Some people see the best in you. And others are just assholes. Don’t let others define who you are. Nothing proves nothing. Especially in edited marketing videos. Define yourself.

25 Comments

  1. Marcy

    YES. Love this. You hit on one thing that was bugging me about that video– using others’ opinions to gauge your own worth (which seems to be synonymous for “beauty”).

  2. Shannon

    I actually really liked that video, but I can see your point, Neil. I guess I didn’t take the message to be that we should let others define us as much as we should use clearer lenses when looking at ourselves, lenses that aren’t clouded by our own doubts and insecurities. I understand that this video was undoubtedly edited and skewed, and I know that there will always be “Lauras,” but the video still left me with a positive message. It does not, however, make me more or less likely to buy Dove products.

    • Neil

      but where do these lenses “clouded by our own doubts and insecurities” come from? Don’t they usually come from accepting the words and views of others, and integrating it into our own minds? What happens if we go to a school filled with “Lauras?” How can we feel good about ourselves? Is there a way to get this positive message without getting it from the views of others? Because if we so easily accept the good, why should we not accept the bad?

      • Shannon

        I don’t have the answers to these questions, Neil. I just know that my own gut reaction to that video was a positive one. I think that you are right, for the most part, about where those lenses come from. And I know from experience that there are many, many “Lauras” out there, especially in schools. I also know that there are many who are not “Lauras,” too.
        That being said, I took the message of the video to be, not that we should accept what others think of us as the truth, but that we should judge ourselves less harshly.
        I do appreciate the perspective that you have given. It definitely made me look at that video from a different angle.
        But I still like it.

  3. Ms. Moon

    When I watched that video (which, as I am sure you know, has been all over the internet), I had the same reaction. What in hell does it prove? Not one damn thing.
    I love your take on it. You nailed it.

    • Neil

      Of course, there is some validity to it. We are all hard on ourselves. But the premise was fake. Many times we are hard on ourselves because others are hard on us. If we send our daughters into school with the idea that everything negative about themselves is only in their head, and the rest of the world will see them as beautiful — they are going to end up very very disappointed with the world.

  4. Megan

    Way to take a beautiful sentiment and shit all over it. 😉

    Being able to see ourselves the way others see us would be a blessing to most of us. I participated in an activity on Flickr where people posted pictures and laid out what they disliked about themselves. Other people commented on what they saw. It was enlightening.

    No, we shouldn’t gage our worth by others, but the truth is, we compare ourselves to others no matter what people tell us. We look at what’s out there and if we don’t have what we like in others we declare ourselves unfit.

    Growing up, no one told me that I was beautiful all the time, but no one told me I was ugly either. At different times in my life I’ve felt both ugly and beautiful and sometimes just OK. The difference is I never gauged my worth on my looks – I was brought up to value personality, intelligence and kindness over anything else. My sense of worth came from these things, not from outside.

    This video is about perspective; we don’t see ourselves as we are, we see ourselves as we feel we are. I think it’s a gift to be see yourself as others see you. It gives you more balance.

    • Neil

      That’s my role in life!

      • Megan

        And you do it so well! 🙂

  5. Sarah Piazza

    I’m so out of the loop that I hadn’t even seen the video.

  6. Kat

    I could not put my finger on what bothers me about Doves marketing campaign. Something about the fact that this company puts so much emphasis on “real” beauty, but sells beautifying products to keep us looking our best? I think a majority of women probably don’t think they’re beautiful so it’s brilliant for this company to align themselves with how “real women” feel. Those “real women” will make them the most money.

  7. Lisa Jemus

    Neil, where have you been all of my life.

    I have been saying exactly the same thing, though not nearly as well, all over FB today. It saddens me how many millions of intelligent women are buying into this marketing ploy. Dove took their old brand of “One quarter moisturizing cream” and repackaged it as low self esteem. This is their BRAND.
    Love what you wrote, especially the last line. F-ING BRILLIANT.

  8. Lisa Jemus

    No to mention it is perfectly normal to feel attractive one day, and unattractive the very next day. Kind of like one day you might feel happy and the next day not so happy. Same thing. And don’t tell me that the advertising world doesn’t try to sell you “happy”, because it does.

    Normal is an ever evolving view of who we are, what we look like, and how we feel. And not because some soap company says it is so.

  9. Alexandra

    Neil, you are a genius who sees through the bullshit.

    Really, if I were rich I’d hire you for something. Clearly.

  10. Stacey

    I thought the video was interesting (even knowing it was heavily edited to make a certain point by a company that is trying to sell me beauty products). It made me wonder how accurately we do see ourselves. Do we focus too much on the flaws? Do other people better see us as we are? I almost wanted to try to draw a sketch of myself without looking in a mirror and then compare it to a photo to see how well I really know my own face.

    • Megan

      I’m not really sure if it’s that we don’t know our faces or that we focus on what we don’t like rather than what we do. Also that whole “familiarity breeds contempt” thing.

      I choose to take this video (knowing full well it’s marketing by a beauty product company) as a bit of perspective. It’s certainly a good place to start for all of us. Baby steps.

  11. Megan

    And then I saw this:

    Nobody hold a good opinion of a man who has a low opinion of himself. –Anthony Trollop

    In my experience, many women have a low opinion of themselves in one way or another – at the very least this video can start a discussion. If our perception of our physical selves are distorted, chances are our perception of other aspects of ourselves are distorted too. I think Neil can relate to that because he doesn’t seem to know how wonderful his writing and photography are.

  12. caron

    A little levity….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8Jiwo3u6Vo

  13. kris

    What if I really do have Jay Leno chin? I might be missing the point here.

  14. Dippy Daloo

    This is totally off topic, but after being out of the blogging world since 2010, I hoped back on board the blogger bus this week. I swear all of the sites I went to of blogs I used to follow; they were all gone! A flash in the pan. But then I remembered my old fiend–I mean friend–Neilochka. (I used to blog under a different name so don’t knock yourself out trying to remember someone named Dippy). Yay, you were there, I mean are here! Its an awesome feeling to know that old friends (or fiends) are always there waiting for you to come back. 🙂

    BTW, has the whole world gone to WordPress since I’ve been gone? Sure seems that way.

  15. Marta

    I liked the video, but I definitely see your point. It doesn’t matter how other people see you, it’s how you see yourself. What I took from the video was less the need for validation from other people, but more so the skewed outlook we have on ourselves. I think that’s what needs tending to.

  16. Jack

    Sounds more like a Valley Village woman to me, but what do I know. I moved out of there two years ago.

    I know, not the point but…

  17. Alma

    I liked the video at first until the end. The ladies were crying… I mean really.
    I would have been like yes that’s me . We all have insecurities, we all have stuff we gotta deal with but some one’s nose or chin is thing that gives them uniqueness and character. I was always made fun because of my long chin, at 40 I am still dealing with it but I know that some people dont see it like I do. They say, its what makes you “you”… Im good with that.

  18. Father Muskrat

    Clearly, Laura has issues.

  19. Estelle Sobel Erasmus

    I loved you speaking at BlogHer12 as a Voice of the Year, and thought you were hilarious. I just found your blog, and I love this post. I think as I read through your other posts I will be in for a fun night (although my hubby might not appreciate all the snorting).
    Estelle

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