New global research from Dove reveals that 9 out of 10 women feel bad when they look in the mirror, while 1 in 3 feel anxious and hardly ever smile back at themselves. Despite this, women on average look in the mirror 5 (4.8) times a day and a further 45 per cent of women say they regularly use shop windows to view their reflection.
The depressing figures reveal that out perception of beauty has transmuted into a standard that is far from reality. To turn this current line of thinking on its head, Dove is releasing a film that dramatises the struggle that many women have when looking at their reflections, entitled Mirrors, and is teaming up with Selfridges to help redefine what beauty really is.
Dubbed the Beauty Project, its aim is to help women develop a more positive view of their own beauty when they look in the mirror. The initial campaign launch has already seen Selfridges erect ‘Hello Beautiful' in seven-foot high letters and transform two main windows into distorting and normal mirrors. Conversations and questions about beauty continue inside with a series of debates and workshops where anyone can take part. Hoping to challenge my own relationship with beauty I attended one of their poetry workshops with critically acclaimed spoken word artist Hollie McNish.
Having not attended a poetry workshop since primary school I was a little nervous about the task in hand. Paired up with a random member of the class, our brief was to draw pictures of each other’s face and use it to write a poem within five minutes. Despite my love of writing and literature I’ll admit I’m fairly skeptical about poetry – with sonnets and cheap romance usually springing to mind – but as each pair stood up to read their poems aloud, it was inspiring to hear prevailing young women express their emotions and engage with their feelings on a complicated subject matter.
Their positive opinions shone through and gave their poetry a sense of richness. It was refreshing to hear women compliment one another other instead of the usual ‘I hate my wrinkles’ or ‘I need to lose weight’ and although I don’t have any major body hang-ups myself, it felt good to hear a total stranger compliment parts of face that I usually don’t give a second thought to.
I left the workshop with more than enough food for thought and my views on poetry and beauty had been equally challenged. Ultimately appearances shouldn't matter so much, but they do. Therefore any campaign that helps women to think about the narrow definitions of female beauty and provokes a wider conversation about how we can make it become a source of confidence, rather than anxiety, gets my applause.
To join the #BeautyIs conversation or attend any of the live debates check out the Beauty Project