Women more beautiful than they think


In cosmetic plastic surgery, the perception of the physical attributes patients have is sometimes very different from what the cosmetic plastic surgeon sees. Here are some posts I have written on the subject:

Effectiveness of plastic surgery

It turns out that women are particularly adept at thinking of themselves as having physical faults, whereas other view them as more beautiful than they see themselves. Cosmetic surgery viewpoints on beauty are often wrong.

 before and after

Dove evolution

Dove, the soap maker, has been making headlines with its advertising campaigns for a while. The first campaign from years ago called “Dove evolution” showed how cosmetics and digital manipulation are used to give us a sense of “natural beauty” that is far from reality.

Here is the link to the ad for women: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

and similarly for men: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_I17cK1ltY

Cosmetics have camouflaged skin blemishes and scars for years, made eyebrows and cheeks seem higher, and mouths larger. That is fine and truly acceptable. What is not so nice is when digital photo manipulation is used to deceive us about what is truly possible for the human body. For cosmetic plastic surgeons, this causes a serious problem in meeting the expectations of patients.  Of course, I could perform a plastic surgery procedure, take a photo of the results and then have it digitally manipulated to give an ideal result, but I doubt my patients would fall for that trick!

Dove Real Beauty

The new ad campaign is much more poignant and important. The new “Dove Real Beauty” campaign (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaOjMXyJGk) asked women to describe themselves to a forensic artist.(Those are the guys who work for the police, getting descriptions of suspects from witnesses at a crime and coming up with a sketch of the suspect. They are very good artists.) The artist drew a sketch based on their auto-description. This depicted how the women saw themselves.

Next, the artists drew a sketch of the same person based on a description by someone else who had met the subject. This sketch depicted how other people saw her.

The results showed that women are particularly severe and harsh judges of their own physical attributes. They typically see themselves as having more faults and being less attractive than they really are.

There is sure to be a lot of psychological discussion about this. We know that women tend to be less self-confident than men, take less risks, are more likely to admit having made mistakes, etc. But seeing themselves as less beautiful than they really are is a new one.

They haven’t done the study on men yet, but I suspect that men will think they are more handsome than they are perceived to be by others. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” seems to be true after all.

Morad Tavallali, M.D., FACS