“You are more beautiful than you think”
I wish it was George Clooney whispering these lines to me in his trademark drawl and lopsided smile that reaches his eyes. But no (and wake up woman !!), it is actually a conclusion drawn by an ‘social experiment ‘ by Dove (the brand that sells beauty products) which is making women all over the globe smile and cry. I am sure most of you would have seen the video. It is flooding inboxes and newsfeeds. If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XpaOjMXyJGk
I have my reservations about the simplistic methodology used by the social scientists. It would have been better if all participants (including the subjects and the observers, and here by default they all would have to be women) gave the descriptions in third person, thus reducing the artists bias towards harsher (self description) and softer (third person) pencil strokes. Also, it would be better if they had a heterogeneous mix of women of varied age groups and body types. But beyond this nitpicking, i admit that towards the end of the video, i smile. It makes me feel good.
It lifts my spirits that the roundish face framed in mousey grey hair, combed in a practical no- fuss manner that looks back at me when i stand in front of the mirror; the open pores and upraised, almost- wartish moles; the crows feet; the slightly squinty eyes that cannot function without glasses; all this and more , will not be seen by a stranger. That, someone i meet at the coffee shop, the airport or even for that matter coworkers, may describe me as an elegant woman with short salt and pepper hair, and a soft smile. It makes me feel good and brings a smile to my gracefully- ageing face. It erases my wrinkles as no botox- shot ever can. It works as an astringent and instantly closes my wide open pores. It essentially works as a soft focus camera lens and makes me want to use the strangers perception of my looks as my facebook profile picture.
So, we all are more beautiful than we think.
Or, are we? What would the results be if we were asked to describe ourselves as a person, an individual. Just that. No age profiling, no job descriptions, no educational qualifications, no marital or parenting status, no nationality, no geo-economic positioning of ourselves in the global fabric. Just five lines on how we see ourselves as a person, and in our interaction with fellow humans.
Here are my five lines on myself: i am a mild-mannered person. i believe in live and let live, as long as somebody is not living off my bank balance. i have no qualms about borrowing and forgetting to return books, from friends and strangers. i am always ready to help family, friends and anyone i can. (WHERE is my halo?).
Five lines on me, by someone who knows me as an individual (not a close friend) at a superficial level: She is a reserved person, almost snobbish. She dresses sloppily. She definitely has a squint.
Beyond this, the stranger will not have much to say about me as an individual, without mentioning my looks, dress, job, family etc. Our appearance, and by that i mean our physical and social appearance, define how we are perceived by strangers. Is this why we try to fit into the social fabric?
Why are we driven towards becoming model parents and citizens? Why do we want to do the ‘right thing’ (whatever that is)? We crave acceptance. It is good for our egos and feeds our vanity. We are willing to let go of our individuality, the quirks that define us, the dreams that haunt us. Why? It is to feed the beast within us.