The women, when describing themselves, I suspect were briefed to describe some sort of mythical sea monster "oh, very deep set red eyes, gargantuan uni-brow, protruding gills..." to the artist who drew faces of varying plausibility. A stranger who had been introduced to the first woman would then describe her to the artist with descriptions such as 'kind eyes' oh kind eyes I will get right on to drawing those.
Unfortunately in 2008 a psychological experiment showed you aren't as awesome as you think you are. Reducing the Dove strapline to "your first portrait was right." Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago and Erin Whitchurch of the University of Virginia published the study Mirror Mirror on the Wall: Enhancement in Self-Recognition which involved showing people two photos of themselves, telling them one had been doctored.
Here's the sneaky science part, both had been faffed with, one made 'uglier' and one more 'beautiful'. Almost every time when asked to pick the doctored image people chose the less attractive image of themselves. Claiming the enhanced image was the original. The advantages of this self-enhancement aids confident and sincere self promotion.
Now it seems we might have to start a Real Children campaign. Guys if we keep on with these real campaigns we are going to have to either rename those Real Dolls or go with the clunkier - but maybe less peculiar - realistic women/children/men campaign.
It is no doubt wise to encourage children to set store by ability rather than looks.
It is no doubt wise to encourage children to set store by their ability rather than their looks. Although arguably both can be honed within reason - should a person decide to undertake such projects on themselves.
Swinson suggested mothers who fret about their figures influence their own children to notice faults in their own appearance. Fathers too should watch their language: "Perhaps they can consider what they say about women in front of their daughters, how they're being judged and whether they're saying any inappropriate comments suggesting that women's value is in how they look."
Interestingly The Scotswoman found research which "shows that when children have no body confidence at school they're less likely to put their hand up in class and ask a question." Rather halting their learning ability. It seems a balance is called for rather than a complete overhaul to aid children's self esteem and self worth, with any luck once puberty stops ravaging their bodies self-enhancement will kick in.
Perhaps the Dove campaign for more confidence should focus on more intellectual compliments, but with a little insult snuck in at the end because we all know marketing works on feeding insecurity. How about this for your next campaign Dove: "Hey, you're really good at spelling. Are those your armpits I can smell?"
*I think I really dated myself there...