It is often said we are our own harshest critics and there will certainly be few arguments from women on this point. Just how harsh we can be though, is made clear in this new spot from Dove France.
The film shows conversations between two women chatting in a cafe. One is berating the other’s physical appearance in such a brutal way it is toe-curlingly awful to witness. Women sitting close enough to overhear are appalled.
But all is not entirely what it might seem. The script was created by asking women, who were found via street casting, to write down their innermost thoughts about their looks. The most negative ones were selected and two actresses then articulated the thoughts in a cafe, within earshot of the same (unsuspecting) participants. Thus, the participants get to hear their own private thoughts said out loud in public. As eavesdroppers, they are horrified that one person could talk to another in such a way and some even intervene. It all appears quite staged, but the point is made.
Despite much of the rest of the planet viewing French women as effortlessly stylish and beautiful, it turns out that only 10% have positive thoughts about their own beauty, according to Dove’s research. In fact, like everyone else, they are highly self-critical and Dove says this film is intended to "showcase their thoughts" with a view to helping women rethink how they talk to themselves.
The spot was created by Ogilvy & Mather Paris, and first aired on French TV to mark International Women’s Day at the weekend. The film encourages women to start sharing positive thoughts using the hashtag #PenséeQuiRendBelle or, in English, #OneBeautifulThought. Later this month a print campaign featuring some of the positive thoughts women have shared in response to the film will kick off in French press.