It’s your own fault you feel shit, ladies

‘Women are their own worst beauty critics,’ says Dove in the latest instalment of its Real Beauty campaign. In other words, women are those whose insecurities are most effectively exploited by an industry that unashamedly rips apart women’s looks in general and bodies in particular every chance it gets. Shocker.

Luckily, Dove is here to show women that they are more traditionally beautiful than they think. How? An experiment that sees an FBI artist sketch the faces of women he hasn’t met based on descriptions by themselves and people they meet respectively demonstrates that the drawings based on strangers’ accounts result in skinnier women with lighter hair, straighter noses, fewer moles and less droopy chins.

The lesson? ‘You are more beautiful than you think!’

Or:

1. How you look IS important.

2. It’s your own fault that you feel shit. Relax and stop being so hard on yourself and maybe you’ll be happy.

3. Beauty is what it always was: see, you’re not as fat as you thought you were, and your eyebrows are actually very well-formed, and your lips could almost be described as full and sexy!

I respect Dove for trying, I really do. The problem is that a beauty product manufacturer depends on its audience wanting to be beautiful. And try as it might to convey that beauty comes from within, that’s not where it’s going to make its money – and, actually, it keeps failing miserably, every single time.

LOVELY, said a choir of clued-in, sensible, politically-conscious women on Twitter, and I died a little inside. ‘Dove is committed to building positive self-esteem and inspiring all women and girls to reach their full potential,’ reads the copy on the campaign site. It’s bullshit. Don’t buy it, girls. They’re part of an industry that makes money off your sense of inadequacy, and no matter how beautiful you are, they’ll keep doing it.

Women are their own worst beauty critics – mad, eh? No, not remotely. There’s nothing mad or surprising or shocking about the fact that people who are bombarded day in and day out with images creating an unobtainable ideal become experts at finding and focusing on their own flaws. It’s no wonder if, in a world where modelling agencies find their future stars outside anorexia clinics, women start to become both paranoid and neurotic.

I won’t judge anyone with an interest in beauty, but let’s not pretend it’s anything but shallow. And Dove, don’t you dare suggest that the hatred comes from within. It’s being handed down to us from a never-ending supply, sustained by companies just like you.