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Forensic Artist Proves That Women Literally Don’t Know Their Own Beauty

A new addition to Dove’s Real Beauty campaign asks a forensic artist to draw two sketches of women—one based on their own description, and one from a stranger—with shocking results.

Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder. Studies have shown, though that when the beauty in question is a woman’s own, and the beholder’s eye is theirs as well, only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. Dove has long been working toward shifting that paradigm with the alternately lauded and derided Real Beauty campaign. The brand’s latest effort at changing self-perception attempts to do so through eyewitness testimony.

Recently, Dove hired former police forensic artist Gil Zamora to illustrate some psychologically revealing sketches. In a campaign created by Ogilvy Toronto, a series of women described themselves to Zamora in minute detail, from behind a curtain. The artist in turn created composites as though trying to identify a criminal. Next, each participant was asked to describe another woman present. The results are dramatic and sort of moving.

Here’s the full story.