If you were asked to name one thing you really love about your body, what would your initial reaction be? And would it be far easier to compliment your friends' sparkling eyes, glowing complexion, curvaceous hips and toned legs than openly praise your own looks?
According to a compelling new ad from Dove, the latest video in the brand's Campaign For Real Beauty, the answer to that second question is a resounding -- and heartbreaking -- yes. Dove asked pairs of women on the street what they love about their own bodies and received nervous laughter, "hmmms," and "I don't knows" in response. But when the same women were asked to answer the same question about their female friends, they gushed.
"If we can see the beauty in others, why can't we see it in ourselves?" the spot poignantly asks.
Women should feel more empowered to recognize the beauty in themselves and their female peers. (After all, 97 percent of women admit to having a disparaging thought about their body every day, and two-thirds of 13-year-old girls in the U.S. fear gaining weight.) And spots like this one and Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" are an excellent antidote to the Carl's Jr. and Axe commercials of the world. But we found ourselves left with a few nagging questions after watching the ad a few times. Do we think that most women really can't name even one part of their body that they love? Or is it just that women have been socialized to accept compliments with reticence and feel uncomfortable praising themselves?
And at what point will convincing women that they are physically beautiful stop being the most important thing for us to do? Feeling beautiful is a wonderful thing, but feeling intelligent and feisty and independent and passionate can be so much better.