Are you beautiful? How do you know? Who makes the rules? Who tells the truth?

Filed in Media by on February 16, 2014 5 Comments

I heard a talk on Saturday about the biblical idea of beauty, and how distorted our own ideas of beauty have become within the prevailing culture. As an introduction, the speaker showed this ‘Onslaught’ video from the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. It’s already seven years old, but I had never seen it before. Take a look – it’s only 80 seconds. I found it very powerful and provocative, and it challenged me to question my own perceptions of what makes a person truly beautiful.

Tags: ,

About the Author ()

Fr Stephen Wang is a Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Westminster. He is currently Senior University Chaplain for the Archdiocese. Some of his articles have previously been published on his personal blog, Bridges and Tangents. See:

Comments (5)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Susan O'Brien says:

    Highly recommend to sit alongside this Dove video

    5 Minutes Of What The Media Actually Does To Women Challenging Media and Jean Kilbourne.
    See here:

  2. Anne O'Connor says:

    Susan, thank you for recommending this link. What an inspirational speaker! What struck me, apart from the sad truth of her message, was the shots of the audience – they were so attentive and the few young men present (I assume this talk was aimed at young women) looked shocked at what they were hearing. One young man in particular, about half-way through, put a protective arm around his girlfriend, who incidentally looked beautifully ordinary.

    I think the fashion industry has a lot to answer for in favouring ever thinner models and for airbrushing those who don’t naturally measure up to their exacting standards. In this respect it’s great to see someone like Adele who is comfortable with the way she looks and happy to rely on her singing talent alone.

  3. It’s all a bit worrying. In the media we are ‘sold’ the notion(s) of what beauty is and what level of beauty we should aim for, be we male or female. What we don’t see in the hype is that we are perfectly ok as we are. Many (most) of us will simply never up to these ideas of physical perfection the advertisers try to sell to us. This goes to make so many people unsure of themselves and doubt their abilities to do so many things they are capable of doing.
    Thakyou Father Stephen for the post and thanks to Susan for the additional link.

  4. Tonia says:

    I’ve been skeptical about the Dove campaign for real beauty since their first ads came out showing a group of attractive women of different shapes and sizes standing around in white underwear. I assumed that it was an ad for M&S underwear, but no, it was for soap or something similar, so why the need to show so many women in their underwear? Now Dove seems to be leading the campaign to raise self-esteem among teens. Isn’t it modesty we should be promoting rather than self-esteem? ‘It’s Ok to keep your clothes on’ might be a better message than ‘feel comfortable about how you look when you take them off’.

    I watched the Jean Kilbourne clip and she’s right that photoshop creates an unrealistic dehumanised image of women and in that respect the Dove campaign is a step in the right direction. She doesn’t mention music videos which are even worse than magazine ads. They often show female pop stars not only in their underwear but simulating sex acts.

  5. Paul Rodden says:

    I dare anyone to watch these three vignettes (based on true stories) in this 20-minute video, without reaching for the Kleenex…
    (In Thai, with subtitles)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: