Are you ready for a totally thought-provoking commercial that will make you question everything you’ve internalized about body image while simultaneously desiring some Dove bodywash? Check out the latest missive in Dove’s “campaign for real beauty,” for which the brand hired a forensic sketch artist to draw women how they see themselves, as well as how others see them.

Can you guess what happened? That’s right: the women all looked older, tireder, and less conventionally pretty in the drawings drawn based on their descriptions of themselves than in those based on others’ descriptions. The lesson being, I suppose, that other people think you look fine, so you should stop being so hard on yourself. After all, it’s other people’s opinions that matter, right?

I’ll admit I’m a little bit torn on these ads: on the one hand, I appreciate things that take a stab at promoting better body image in women, because there are so many things constantly working against us in that arena. On the other hand, there is a fundamental hypocrisy here: that of promoting “real beauty” on the one hand, and selling beauty products on the other. It’s possible that Dove’s strategy is “rescue women from their shitty body image and they will buy your products out of sheer gratitude,” but that’s not really how advertising works, is it? I wonder if the women in this ad were subject to the same, extremely narrow qualifications for “real beauty” as the ones in this 2010 casting call?

I also realize it’s possible to have a “toned down” beauty routine in which you eschew a lot of it, but still apply moisturizer and a small amount of makeup in order to achieve that faux-natural glow that people love so much. But please, please, please do not call that “real,” as in “naturally occurring,” because that is incorrect. Then again, I guess “Dove Campaign For Selling You That Product-Assisted ‘Natural Look’ That Magazines Say Men Adore” doesn’t have as nice a ring to it, does it?

Related: Club kids and drag queens are 90% makeup, and they are some of the realest bitches I know.

(Via TheFrisky)