Column Classic: Thought Bubbles

By Lisa Scottoline

You’ve probably seen the Dove commercial in which a forensic artist sketches a woman according to her own description of her face and it turns out terrible, and then sketches a second picture of a woman according to a description of her by a stranger, and it turns out great.

Who is surprised by this?

Not me.

I could’ve told you that women are their own worst critics.

I also could’ve told you that composite drawings make everybody look ugly.

If you ask me, even the second pictures of the women didn’t look as good as the women did in reality.

Felons are never that hot.

But the tagline of the campaign is, “You Are More Beautiful Than You Think.”

And everyone is hailing this as a brilliant marketing campaign and a profound way to look at women, or for women to look at themselves.

But you know what I think?

I think it really doesn’t matter if you’re beautiful or not.

Let’s be real.

I don’t need a composite artist to tell me what I really look like, because I have a mirror.  And to tell the truth, every time I look in the mirror, I have the exact opposite reaction:

I thought I looked better than that.

It’s not like I have a big ego or think that I’m especially attractive.  But I can tell you that when I look in a mirror, it’s a disappointment.

I don’t even want to think about what would happen if I ran into a forensic sketch artist and he started drawing me.  I might take his pencil and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

In other words, my own personal tagline should be, “I’m Not As Beautiful As I Think.”

But who cares?

I’m not a model.

I’m a writer, a mother, and a middle-aged woman.  Bottom line, I’m fine with how I look, even though I’m not beautiful.

And all I want from Dove soap is to get me clean.

When did a soap company get to be our national therapist?

I wish Dove would get out of the self-esteem business and figure out how to get me even cleaner, longer.  Or how to make soap with more suds, because I like a lot of suds.

Dove, don’t flatter me by telling me I’m not only beautiful, but more beautiful than I think.  Because I wasn’t born yesterday, and I don’t look it.

In other words, don’t lather me up, just lather me up.

I guarantee we’ll never see a soap commercial like that for men.  Nobody will ever sell soap by talking about how men are handsomer than they think.  In the first place, most men aren’t half as handsome as they think, but they don’t care about that.

And they’re right.

I like Dove soap, but I don’t need it to build my self-image and I don’t want it to pretend to do so by convincing me that I’m in fact more beautiful than I think, because it assumes that beauty is and should be the key to our self-esteem.  What should matter to women is who we are and how we act, and if we set our own dreams and fulfill them, in our lives.

And none of that has anything to do with what we look like.

At all.

And even ugly women deserve to feel good about themselves.

Dove might know something about soap, but their analysis is only skin-deep.

I don’t even give them an A for effort.

I think that this is the softest sell ever.

And you know who’s taking a bath?


Copyright 2013 Lisa Scottoline