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New Dove Social Experiment Shows Beauty is a State of Mind

Posted: April 9, 2014

Inside every woman is the power to feel beautiful, confident and radiant, according to an original social experiment conducted by Unilever beauty brand Dove. Carried out in response to research revealing that 80% of women feel anxious about the way they look, the study highlights how the right state of mind can unlock a powerful feeling of beauty that lives inside all women. The results are documented in the short film Dove: Patches on YouTube.com/Dove.

The experiment was guided by psychologist and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Ann Kearney-Cooke, who has spent 30 years conducting scientific research around women’s body image and self-esteem. During the experiment Dr. Kearney-Cooke invited the participants to wear a custom-made “beauty patch” for two weeks, which would help them feel more beautiful. The women were then invited to keep a personal account of their life-changing experience throughout the two week period. All the women agreed that wearing the “beauty patch” helped to improve their self-esteem and to change their personal lives in ways that they had not imagined. At the end of the experiment, however, it is revealed that the “beauty patch” contained nothing and that the power of believing in their own beauty influenced feeling beautiful.

"When a woman feels beautiful, she radiates happiness and confidence, which inspires her life in a significant way,” said Dr. Kearney-Cooke. “These women, like so many others, struggle to recognize their own beauty and it severely affects their daily lives. This ground-breaking experiment was designed to illustrate that beauty is a state of mind and that the power to feel beautiful comes from within.”

Throughout the Dove: Patches film, it becomes clear how low self-esteem affects many elements of the women’s lives. As the women become more confident about the way they look, personal relationships flourish and they develop a more optimistic outlook on their daily routine. One of the women who participated shared that she felt ashamed of her arms and had always avoided shopping. A few days into the experiment, she started to feel more beautiful and invited her daughter to go shopping for the first time. The two of them spent an unforgettable day together and they tried on dresses that she had never dreamed of wearing. Dove hopes that all of the women’s inspirational stories featured in the Dove: Patches film will serve as powerful examples and encourage all women to develop a stronger relationship with their own beauty.

“We have heard from thousands of women how their complicated relationship with beauty affects their overall confidence and happiness,” said Jennifer Bremner, brand building director, skin cleansing. “By illustrating through the Dove: Patches film that a positive state of mind and openness can help them feel more beautiful, we hope to inspire all women and help change the way they see themselves.”

Dove invites all women to create a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. When women look and feel their best, they feel happier, and Dove believes it is important for women to see the beauty in themselves so that they can inspire the next generation. The brand has set a goal of reaching 15 million young lives with self-esteem programming by the end of 2015 and has reached over 12 million to date.