As Real As It Gets

It has long been said that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.

But in this modernized age, it feels more as if beauty is in the eye of the media, and the rest of us are scrambling to live up to strangely synthetic ideals. As a grandmother to several growing girls, this issue strikes a chord.

From movies and magazines to apps, ads, and even toys,


Photo by Anoni245 via Wikimedia Commons


“beauty” has begun to acquire a positively unnatural gleam that reminds me of polished chrome.

It may be glossy, but it leaves me feeling a bit blinded.

When, I wonder, did our notions of attractiveness become so sterilized?

When did we forget that “flaws” like freckles and frizz are where fabulous flourishes?


Photo by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons

If you missed the viral online video showing a perfectly lovely woman’s artificial transformation into a plasticized photo model, you may be shocked at how the images we see in the media are contorted in ways we wouldn’t even imagine. Let’s just say that leg lengthening and eye expansions are par for the course.

Befuddling, isn’t it?

Suddenly, thanks to computer software programs, models are not only impossibly thin, they are just plain impossible.

In light of such surreal standards of appearance, it’s no surprise that today’s women (and their developing daughters) are losing perspective on what it means to be a living, breathing, beautiful being.

And that is what makes me love a new video produced by Dove. While I may not love every ingredient that goes into their products, the company’s Campaign for Real Beauty has its heart in the right place, and its latest effort is something special.

Here, we find moms and daughters who are taking the media into their own hands and reclaiming their place as beauty’s beholders.

You’ll want to watch this:

Leave a comment 7 Comments

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love this short video because it goes right to the core of the effects of the media on self image acceptability. I think this problem has always been there for young girls and teens but the media has cruelly defined a vision of beauty that is both unhealthy, impossible, and plastic. But, it has become so all pervasive and powerful that it seems to creep down the ladder to younger and younger girls. Now there are more beauty pagents turned reality TV fueling the crazy notion that this is what success looks like for young girls. It’s crazy! More work has to be done to help girls realize that there is more than one color (PINK) that is acceptable to wear and what counts is the work done on the inside of the person. In my opinion, it is going to have to take a social revolution of push back against all of the media definition of beauty. But the cruel thing is that the media makes it possible to market and sell products and we all know that the golden handcuffs are the most difficult to break!

  2. Yay for Dove and other companies that focus on real women. As a chubby child who’s father wanted a boy ( hence even shorter than ” pixie” haircuts, and mostly boy’s clothing ) I suffered greatly. My mother, a stunning beauty, lost no time letting me know I would never turn out like her. So when I got past the ugly duckling stage and finally slimmed down, not by dieting but just by growing about 5 inches, I was thrilled. I was fortunate as I fit society’s standards for beauty fairly well. Long, straight, fair hair, naturally slim, petite, and so on. Our western society is just ” sick” in our standards and the pressure for ” beauty” especially for young women. For instance, in China, girls will suffer for over a year to have ” leg lengthening” operations- major and life threatening surgery, just to be taller and more marriagable. It goes on and on and is permeating every country , regardless of ethnicity . Let just be healthy and that is more than beautiful enough.

  3. calle says:

    Ladies, we are all “Original ” art works. Why oh why do so many want to be a “McDonald’s ” hamburger? Honor and promote differences, talent and uniqueness. Off the beaten path is the way to go!

  4. Debbie says:

    I loved this MJ! I’m sharing it with my Nicolette… she turned 16 this weekend and needs to see this!
    Thank you! Hugs,

  5. Karlyne says:

    Well, that made me sniffle. But, do you know what was the saddest thing to me? The moms, the older women who had had a lifetime of not measuring up. Of course they were perpetrating the myth of flawlessness – they were still chasing it themselves!

  6. Kim Reeves says:

    When I was younger, it was ALL about image. I’ll be 51 this year and times have gotten worse on this. I have a 27 year old daughter who was a little overweight when she was younger. I never said a word about it because I was considered overweight at a size 13 when I was in high school. It hurts so bad and my sister, who was always the ideal weight, and I were never close to each other because we were always “compared” by our mama and society. My daughter was and is absolutely beautiful!!! But her grandfather always let her know she had “a pretty face”. She started taking diet pills and going to a weight loss clinic. (I had extreme bitterness for the grandfather. I’ve since laid it to rest and he’s been laid to rest a year ago today.) After years of abuse to her body and drugs,she’s home with us and doing quite well. I will show this to her for she has so much wisdom to share with others who have been down this road! It’s devastating what our words can do to young people! Thank you for sharing this, MJ!

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