Forever Pursuing Beauty
“Beauty“ is a timeless theme pursued and explored by the human race. Hence, it is manifested in culture again and again. Immortality and keeping beauty forever are the most shining themes in the science fiction short story Death Do Us Part. A creative commercial by Dove published in 2013 also shows the theme of beauty to tell women: “You are more beautiful than you think.”
Death Do Us Part by Robert Silverberg was written in 1996. The writer describes how biological immortality impacts the institution of marriage. In this story, there is a set of treatments called “The Process.” The story takes place several hundred years from now. “The Process” rejuvenates bodies every few decades, and keeps them young and beautiful. When the heroine’s friend could not accept that she married a 363-year old man, she explained “He didn’t appear to be any older than thirty-five or so…It kept him as dashing and vigorous as a boy”(Silverberg). The Process makes marriage more acceptable when there is a huge age gap between the couple. The ideal situation where people do not worry about aging and death comes true in this story.
If people think that living forever would lead to an ideal marriage-“death do us part”, they are mistaken. In this story, no one will stay with the same person for their whole life, because living with one person for hundreds of years is unrealistic. When Leo tells his wife, “You’re the finest last wife a man could ever desire”(Silverberg), his wife keeps silent for a long while. Although he swears romantic oaths, his wife does not believe him. She knows that she will stay with Leo for ten years, perhaps for fifty as usual; “no one stays married forever” (Silverberg). Although immortality has negative effects on marriage, it has positive effects on careers, because people can choose different careers for “fresh challenges”(Silverberg). In the fullness of time, they can experience different lives. Leo is a sand-painter, which is his fifteenth or twentieth career. His wife is 35 years old, but she has not entered on any career path yet and she is not worried about that. “There’s time to decide. Oh, is there ever time!” (Silverberg). In the 21st century, although immortality sounds impossible, scientists are making full efforts to realize it. Compared to “The Process”, people today focus more on “Beauty”, especially women.
The love for beauty is always with us. In this era of extraordinary sophistication, people, especially women, are super eager to keep beautiful. For most companies, creating beauty means making huge profits. Beauty gives women a competitive edge and allows them to achieve a sense of security, love, acceptance, fulfillment, belonging, companionship and personal worth by attracting more attention. Most women blindly pursue youth and beauty and are willing to spend a lot of money on anything helpful. To this extent, beauty is an essential ingredient of our daily life, commercials, and pop culture.
Dove’s popular campaign on YouTube called “ Real Beauty Sketches” demonstrates “ Beauty” and gives it a new meaning. Just one month after its release, this campaign has been viewed over 114 million times, won a number of advertising awards and received numerous media coverage, such as New York Times, ABC News and The Huffington Post. Dove chose seven women of different backgrounds and ages. They showed up to a place they had never been before. There was a forensic artist who sketched their portraits. There was a curtain between the artist and individual women. He sketches according to how the women describe their own face and the descriptions of strangers. The painter had trained by FBI and worked for the San Jose Police Department before. The Strangers only met the women once at a party. These elements enhanced the credibility of this campaign. When the women described themselves with emotional music playing in the background, they often said things like “I have a pretty big forehead”, and “The older I ‘ve gotten, [and] the more freckles I’ve gotten” (Dove). On the contrary, the strangers describing them said things like “ She had nice eyes. They lit up when she spoke” and “[she had a] cute nose” (Dove). Once the artist completes a sketch, he does not see the women or the strangers. He just says, “ Thank you very much.”
The two drawings of each woman were totally different depending on whether the woman was describing herself or she was being described by the stranger. The sketches based on the description of the strangers were more beautiful and more similar to what the subjects actually looked like. The women were more beautiful than they thought. Most of the women could not forbear to cry when they saw the results. This makes the audience feel more trustful and elicits a strong emotional response from them.
This advertisement is not only about conventional beauty, which is mentioned in Death Do Us Part, but also focuses on how people judge themselves. In Death Do Us Part, the writer only emphasizes youth and a beautiful appearance, but the commercial is more about being less critical of yourself in that you will realize you are more beautiful than you think. “Beauty is a source of confidence and not anxiety”(Dove). Confident women are much more beautiful no matter how old they are, which race they are, or what they look like. Today’s technologies cannot keep people young and beautiful forever like in science fiction, but people have not stopped pursuing beauty. Dove is helping women to be more beautiful by giving them confidence and correcting their own worst critic, themselves. Beauty depends on the way people carry themselves and whether they cause the world around them to be brighter. You will be more attractive, if you feel you are beautiful. Women always spend a lot of time trying to fix the things that they “think” aren’t quite right. They should spend more time appreciating the things that they do have and know their true beauty.
Humans always pursue beauty in various ways and continue to give “Beauty” new and different meanings.
Silverberg, Robert. “- DEATH DO US PART.” – DEATH DO US PART. Omni Online, Dec. 1996. Web. 01 May 2015.
Dove. “Dove Real Beauty Sketches | You’re More Beautiful than You Think (6mins).” YouTube. YouTube, 14 Apr. 2013. Web. 01 May 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=litXW91UauE>.
Stampler, Laura. “How Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ Became The Most Viral Video Ad Of All Time.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 22 May 2013. Web. 01 May 2015. <http://www.businessinsider.com/how-doves-real-beauty-sketches-became-the-most-viral-ad-video-of-all-time-2013-5>.