Negative Feelings About Their Looks Cause Majority of Girls to Disengage From Life

Mothers Play Crucial Role in Development of Girls' Self-Esteem, Dove

Campaign for Real Beauty Global Study Reveals

May 10, 2006, 01:00 ET from The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

    GREENWICH, Conn., May 10 /PRNewswire/ -- When girls feel bad about
 their looks more than 70 percent age 15 to 17 avoid normal daily activities
 such as attending school, going to the doctor, or even giving their
 opinion. "Beyond Stereotypes: Rebuilding the Foundation of Beauty Beliefs,"
 the second Dove global report on female attitudes toward beauty, explores
 the genesis and development of self-esteem. The research investigates how
 beauty ideals impact women's and girls' lives globally.
     The initial Dove global study revealed many women believe the
 definition of beauty has become limited and unattainable -- negatively
 impacting their self-esteem. It inspired the Campaign for Real Beauty.
 Designed to challenge beauty stereotypes and invite women worldwide to join
 in a discussion about beauty, the campaign has served as a catalyst to help
 change society's definition of beauty. The goal of this second study was to
 identify positive and negative influences on self-esteem and help provide
 solutions for freeing the next generation from beauty stereotypes. "We
 should support women and girls, encourage them to enter into this crucial
 dialogue about beauty ideals, and keep them from shrinking away from life,"
 said Dr. Nancy Etcoff, a Harvard University professor and leading expert on
 the connection between beauty and emotion, who also collaborated on the
     The survey polled 3,300 girls and women between the ages of 15 and 64
 in 10 countries around the world: Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Italy,
 Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States. One
 of the study's most striking results is:
     -- More than 90 percent of girls (15 to 17 years) want to change at least
        one aspect of their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the
          * Nearly a quarter would consider undergoing plastic surgery.
          * 13 percent acknowledge having an eating disorder.
     "These results are truly alarming," said Dr. Susie Orbach of the London
 School of Economics, who helped create the study. "They demonstrate the
 clear correlation between physical satisfaction and self-esteem. They also
 capture the negative effects society's narrowly defined beauty ideals are
 having on women and girls, who must be encouraged to overcome these
 damaging beauty stereotypes to embrace more authentic and positive ways of
 feeling beautiful."
     Mothers Play Key Role in Development of Girls' Self-Esteem
     The study reveals that mothers, as well as girlfriends or peers, have
 the earliest and most powerful influence on a girl's feelings about beauty
 and body image. While maternal influence is related to higher physical
 satisfaction and self-esteem levels, the influence of girlfriends is
 related to lower satisfaction and self-esteem. Almost three-quarters of
 mothers with daughters 17 and under globally hope they have not passed on
 feelings of self-doubt or insecurity to their daughters. Findings include:
     -- 61 percent of all women and 69 percent of girls (15 to 17) feel that
        their mother has had a positive influence on their feelings about
        themselves and their beauty.
     -- 51 percent of all women (46 percent of girls 15 to 17 and 53 percent of
        women 18 to 64) report that they wished their mother had talked to them
        more often about their beauty and body image when growing up.
     "These findings clearly demonstrate the power of the mother-daughter
 dialogue to positively influence a girl's self-esteem, body image and
 satisfaction," said Dr. Etcoff. "We know from the study that women are
 longing for affirmation of their unique, individual beauty, both for
 themselves and for younger generations. The mother-daughter bond has great
 potential for empowering girls and making a real difference for future
     Dove created a comprehensive resource to help facilitate conversations
 between mothers and daughters available at The Web site includes "True You," a free
 downloadable workbook; tips for encouraging self-esteem; a "self-check"
 quiz; expert advice and discussion boards.
     Freeing the Next Generation from Beauty Stereotypes
     According to the Dove global report, women expressed a strong desire
 for early discussion and dialogue with young girls, especially regarding
 body image:
     -- 90 percent of women believe it is important to actively engage young
        girls about having a realistic and healthy body image.
     -- More than 50 percent of women strongly wish that the next generation
        learns to eat healthily instead of dieting.
     -- Nearly 80 percent of women report that there is a need to start talking
        to girls earlier in their lives about real beauty.
     "Women around the world have sent us a clear message about their
 wishes. We now need to help them find a way to talk about it, both with
 other women and with their daughters," said Dr. Etcoff.
     Dove Self-Esteem Fund
     The Dove Self-Esteem Fund was created to support confidence-building
 programming for girls and young women globally. In the U.S., the Fund
 supports uniquely ME!, a Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. program. The program
 consists of a variety of interactive activities to help build
 self-confidence in girls 8 to 17, including mentoring, community service,
 sports as well as group and individual activities. Adult volunteers lead
 uniquely ME! sessions helping girls recognize their own strengths and
 teaching life tools such as handling peer pressure and general wellness
     "Our research has shown that too many girls develop low self-esteem
 from hang-ups about their looks and consequently, fail to reach their full
 potential later in life," said Philippe Harousseau, U.S. Marketing Director
 for Dove. "We created the Dove Self-Esteem Fund as an agent of change to
 help educate girls, inspire a broader definition of beauty, and provide
 confidence-building tools and resources."
     Campaign for Real Beauty
     The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was created in 2004 after Dove
 commissioned its first global study, which found only 2 percent of women
 around the world describe themselves as beautiful. Since then Dove has
 employed a series of communication campaigns depicting real beauty and the
 issue of self-esteem. The brand also launched local market initiatives and
 created a resourceful Web site --
     Women's response to the campaign has been overwhelmingly positive.
 Nearly 1.5 million visitors have shared words of encouragement supporting
 the efforts to widen the narrow definition of beauty at The campaign is being featured in college and
 post-graduate textbooks and in documentaries, as well as at panels,
 conferences and other speaking engagements.
     About "Beyond Stereotypes: Rebuilding the Foundation of Beauty Beliefs"
     The Dove study was fielded in September 2005 in 10 countries: Brazil,
 Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, the United
 Kingdom and the United States of America. The research was conducted by
 StrategyOne, an applied research consulting firm, in collaboration with Dr.
 Nancy Etcoff (Harvard University), and Dr. Susie Orbach (London School of
 Economics/ Sociology Department). Methodology: International phone survey
 among 3,300 girls and women aged 15 to 64 utilizing the field services of
 Mori International. Depending on respective country size, 100 girls (15 to
 17 years) and 200 to 300 women (18 to 64) were questioned per nation.
     About Campaign for Real Beauty
     The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is a global effort intended to serve
 as a starting point for societal change and act as a catalyst for widening
 the definition and discussion of beauty. Employing various communication
 vehicles -- advertising, , interactive
 billboards, panel discussions, and a Self-Esteem Fund -- the campaign
 invites women to join in the discussion about beauty and share their views
 of it with women around the world. The Campaign for Real Beauty supports
 the Dove mission: to make more women feel beautiful every day by
 challenging today's stereotypical view of beauty and inspiring women to
 take great care of themselves.
     About Dove
     The Dove mission is to make more women feel beautiful every day by
 challenging today's stereotypical view of beauty and inspiring women to
 take great care of themselves. Dove, manufactured by Unilever, is the No. 1
 personal wash brand nationwide. One in every three households uses a Dove
 product(1), which includes beauty bars, body washes, face care,
 anti-perspirant/deodorants, hair care and styling aids. Dove is available
 nationwide in food, drug and mass outlet stores.
     (1) AC Nielsen (2004)
     Elizabeth Page/Edelman
     Stacie Bright/Unilever

SOURCE The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty