In 2004, the company “Dove” created their “Campaign for Real Beauty,” a series of beauty campaigns and advertisements that attempted to “widen the definition of beauty[1]” and make women feel more confident and empowered by the way they look. One of Dove’s more recent beauty campaigns entitled “Real Beauty Sketches,” features women who enter unknowingly into a study that promotes the idea, “you are more beautiful than you think,”[2] highlighting the fact that people tend to find you more attractive than you find yourself. In this research, I utilize Dove’s beauty campaign, “Real Beauty Sketches,” to explore the notions of beauty in women who are blind or visually impaired. This study uses the research methods of individual interviews and focus groups of women who are legally blind[3] and pulls upon theorists Judith Butler, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Naomi Wolf’s “beauty myth,” and the concept of “intersectionality.” Utilizing literature and theory based on the topics of “Beauty,” “Gender,” “Disability,” and “intersectionality,” coupled with my research methods, I conclude that our societal beauty expectations for women and the emotions and ideas expressed by the women featured in Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches,” are more applicable to women who are blind or visually impaired than I previously believed.

[1] Dove. (2013). The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. In Articles and Advice. Retrieved March 3, 2014 (http://www.dove.us/social-mission/campaign-for-real-beauty.aspx)

[2] Dove. (2013). Real Beauty Sketches. Retrieved March 3, 2014 (http://realbeautysketches.dove.us/)

[3] In this research, I use the phrases “legally blind” and “blind and visually impaired” interchangeably. All of the participants in this study are considered “legally blind” but have varying forms of visual impairments or blindness.


Gunn, Raymond

Second Advisor

Kock, Stacia


Sociology and Anthropology; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Edith M. Anderson