"You are more beautiful than you think" is the tagline of Dove soap's web-only commercial that has gone viral on the internet. It shows a forensic sketch artist drawing a series of women. First he draws them based on their own descriptions of themselves, and then later, he draws them based on descriptions given by other people who have only known them for a few minutes. The women are overly hard on themselves, and the resulting first set of pictures is uniformly more haggard and less attractive than the second set.
It has been viewed over 30 million times on YouTube. Clearly Dove has touched on something. Do we assess ourselves and our looks accurately? And what is real beauty?
As a woman and a plastic surgeon, this ad campaign hits close to home. To be sure, plastic surgery can help people look great and improve their self esteem. However, real beauty is as much a state of mind as it is a physical characteristic.