What Dove Teaches Us About Self-Image & Intimacy


Dove commercial
Discover how developing your self-esteem deepens intimacy with your partner.

Have you seen Dove's campaign video? It's gone viral. After being released earlier this week, it's racked up more than 7 million views. The ad itself is a social experiment in which women describe themselves to a forensic sketch artist. Then, a group of strangers describe the same women to the artist for him to draw another portrait. When placed side by side, the portraits seemingly depict two very different women. The experiment reveals how we as women tend to be our own harshest critics.

What is it about this ad that has resonated with us? Well, as a counselor for the past 14 years, I see this message over and over in my office.  A woman's self esteem is directly related to her satisfaction in romantic relationships.


A woman's perception of herself will inform how she handles and deals with every relationship. If a woman is critical of herself, she will not express her deep desires or fulfill the needs to others for fear that they will reject her. Even if a woman has a tough exterior and openly states her needs, she expects others to reject her and prepares herself by not letting others see her deep authentic self. When a woman does this, she chooses surface relationships, yet longs for someone to "know her." Then, she's even harder on herself and tells herself that there is something fundamentally wrong with her, because she is incapable of deep relationships. It's a vicious cycle that enhances her negative self-image.

Women are socialized to soothe the conflict in relationships, often at their own expense. Women are viewed as "nags" or worse if they ask for their needs to be met by their partners. Men have enjoyed the privilege of getting their needs met in one-way relationships. I can't tell you how many women pour into my counseling offices in deep depression after serving their loved ones selflessly for years. They are emotionally depleted. They have given to everyone ... except themselves. Keep reading ...

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Article contributed by

Teresa Maples


Teresa Maples MS, LMHC, CSAT, CMAT

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Location: Tacoma, WA
Credentials: CMAT, CSAT, LMHC
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Infidelity / Affair Recovery, Sex Addiction
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