Dove campaign calls out social media's toxic influence on young people's self-esteem

·2-min read
Dove is promoting authentic beauty with no editing or filters, while helping young people to detoxify their social media feeds.

Building on its numerous commitments in favor of diverse and authentic beauty, Dove is taking things further this year by tackling the idealized norms and toxic advice that now abound on young girls' social media feeds. Through its "Self-Esteem Project," the personal care and cosmetics brand intends to promote a positive body image, and help teenagers -- and their parents -- to (re)gain confidence in themselves.

From having perfectly white and aligned teeth (here's looking at you, veneers), to flawless skin (thank you filters), or a doe-eyed look worthy of a cartoon character (that's you, photo editing), young people have to contend with the (many) idealized images, standards and other beauty norms they discover on the newsfeeds of their different social media accounts. While previous generations felt this pressure "only" through magazines and advertising campaigns, younger generations experience it daily through social media, which plays an important role in their lives. On top of that, the pandemic has increased the amount of time spent on screens and devices, which has done nothing to help the situation -- on the contrary.

Faced with this observation, the Dove brand -- which has been working for nearly two decades to promote a positive body image -- has chosen to tackle the problem head-on by launching an international project focused on self-esteem. From photo touch-ups and filters to beauty 'advice' from influencers... everything is covered by means of a host of hashtags in several languages, including #NeverTouchUp, #TacklingToxicBeautyAdvice, or #DetoxYourFeed. The goal? To help young people gain self-confidence, without being constantly confronted with the beauty 'standards' that set the tone of their daily lives on social networks. In fact, 80% of 13-year-old girls report changing their body appearance online, as revealed by a survey conducted in the United States among young girls using social networks, and reported by Dove.

This large-scale project includes a video, Reverse Selfie, presented several months ago, showing that filters, photo retouching and the likes can damage self-esteem, explains Dove. The personal care and cosmetics brand also worked hand in hand with a host of experts in various fields, from psychology to body image, self-esteem, eating disorders and media representation, to develop a confidence kit to help young people boost their self-esteem. The kit is also available to parents.

Christelle Pellissier

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