Dove Evolution

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I was going through my files yesterday, and found an article I had written last year. I think it still rings true, and I'd love to share it. Let's all try to remember that beauty is found in your laughter and your joy.

"As a makeup artist in the print and commercial industry, I have always been astounded at the amount of makeup required for the camera. Every pore must be covered, eyelashes thickened, cheekbones defined and lips plumped to perfection. The radiance of a woman's smile and the sparkle in her eye when she laughs are no longer considered the symbols of vivacity. Instead, we have replaced the warmth of our natural beauty with the frenzy for flawless perfection. Personal beauty is not supposed to be altered, nipped or tucked but the media and the beauty industry influence us to feel as though we need to be unblemished. We are not allowed to have a pimple, a wrinkle or an ounce of [excess] fat. Our hair must be coiffed, our legs waxed and our skin tanned. In my industry, I see first hand the massive undertaking of creating "the perfect look." All of us could be gloriously flawless if we walked around daily with our own team of makeup artists, hairstylists and, most importantly, photo retouchers. Ah, yes, the amazing art of airbrushing away any flaw or imperfection. With the technology of Photoshop and other graphic design programs, a blemish, a wrinkle or even the shape of a model's nose can be erased and redone with the click of a mouse. A model could very easily have Angelina Jolie's lips or Kate Hudson's nose; just cut and paste to create your own image. Is this beauty? How can we define what is beautiful when our media is creating false icons? Images of models and actors are altered and our children are idolizing those whose beauty was created with an entourage of beauty experts, cosmetic surgeon, and computer programs that format models’ and celebrities’ faces and bodies. We need to encourage the genuine splendor of real faces and relish in the glow of someone who is comfortable in their own skin.

In the Dove campaign video, which has been viewed over 7 million times on YouTube, we are shown the process of photo retouching for a billboard ad. In the video, a beautiful model is at the beginning of her photo shoot, looking natural and pretty. The ad then shows the process of making a pretty woman “beautiful.” Makeup artists and hairstylists add fake eyelashes and big, curled hair extensions. Eyes are smoked, lips are glossed and the hair is windblown. The picture is snapped, yet the process is far from over. From there, the picture is airbrushed, cropped, cut and pasted. The model’s neck becomes elongated, her eyes are enlarged, her skin is painted to a poreless perfection and her lips are plumped to a perfect pout. The model becomes a doll that the graphic artist paints and alters. The end result is a picture of a model that does not exist. This may sound horrifying, but it is reality. This amazing Dove ad, and the campaign behind it, asks us to consider our false perception of beauty. Although I work in the makeup industry, I have never seen a makeup product that transforms a normal woman into a stunning model simply because these women do not exist. I could look like Kate Moss if someone was willing to airbrush half of my thighs off, the dark circles under my eyes and give me thinner hips! Putting on a thick layer of foundation, contouring your face or smearing on a coat of lipstick will only cover up your genuine glow. Real beauty consists of flaws and quirks. The only way to be stunning is to wipe half a pound of makeup off of your face and smile. After all, confidence is the most attractive attribute anyone can posses."

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