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Skin Deep

Skin Deep
“Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.”

According to Merriam-Webster, beauty is defined as, the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit. But in today’s society, beauty means something completely different. Being young, thin and simply flawless.

In an effort to address this gap, body care product manufacturer Dove has embarked on a comprehensive, multi-faceted campaign designed to address the myths of “real beauty” and to shed light on how they affect self-esteem and body issues in women and girls.

In 2004, Dove released “The Real Truth About Beauty, A Global Report”. A study that sought to discover what people around the world saw as beautiful. The report found that only 2 percent of women around the world described themselves as beautiful. Furthering the theory that the definition of beauty is “limiting and unattainable.” Based on its findings, Dove launched the Campaign for Real Beauty that same year. Designed to spark the conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty, the project kicked off with an ad campaign featuring real women whose appearances were outside the stereotypical norms of beauty. The ads asked viewers to judge the women’s looks and invited them to cast their vote campaignforrealbeauty.com.

The following year, Dove launched the most iconic phase of the project. Which was an ad campaign featuring six real women with real bodies. Designed to debunk the stereotype that only thin is beautiful. And it engaged people. Especially women and girls to discuss beauty and body image issues.

Then in September 2006, after Spain banned overly thin models from its fashion runways.

Dove produced “Evolution,” a short film revealing the transformation of a real woman into a model. Shot in fast motion, it showed how unrealistic perceptions of beauty are created.

Continuing its commitment to widen the narrow definitionof beauty, Dove conducted a global study in 2007. Entitled “Beauty Comes of Age,” the study revealed that 91 percent of women ages 50 to 64 believe it’s time for society to change its views. About women and aging. The project also celebrated women over 50. Wrinkles, age spots, grey hair and all—with an ad campaign created with renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz.

In 2010, Dove created a new vision for the brand and launched the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem.

which gives women the opportunity to mentor girls and celebrate real beauty. In collaboration with experts and key partners—such as the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., Girls Inc., and Boys & Girls Clubs of America—Dove now offers self-esteem building, educational programs and activities that encourage, inspire and motivate girls around the world. Since launching the movement, Dove has reached more than 7 million girls with these programs, and set a global goal of reaching 15 million girls by 2015.

Finally this year, Dove conducted its largest global study to date on women’s relationship with beauty. “The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited” revealed that only 4 percent of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. That anxiety about looks begins at an early age. In a study of more than 1,200 10- to 17-year-olds, 72 percent of girls said they felt pressure to be beautiful. The study also found that only 11 percent of girls around the world feel comfortable using the word beautiful to describe their looks. Showing that there is a increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls’ confidence.

The Real Truth

A universal increase in pressure to be beautiful and a decrease in girls’ confidence as they grow older. Dove’s study “The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited” reinforces the importance of addressing girls’ anxiety about their appearance. Key findings from the report include:

  • Only 4 percent of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2 percent in 2004)
  • Only 11 percent of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves.
  • 72 percent of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful
  • 80 percent of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful. But do not see their own beauty.
  • More than half (54 percent) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst critic.

Story // Michelle Jacoby

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