GREENWICH, Conn., Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Girls today are fixating on
their flaws, causing them to belittle themselves and even take destructive
action. The onslaught of messages and images they constantly receive sets
an unrealistic standard of beauty. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is
partnering with the entertainment industry to address this issue by giving
girls a reality check educating them about what images are real versus
Hollywood magic. This global program is especially relevant as girls today
are measuring themselves against impossible beauty ideals.
The new campaign was developed to help girls realize what they see in
movies and magazines represents an unrealistic standard of beauty, not an
everyday achievable look. As part of its commitment to build self-esteem in
girls, the Dove Self-Esteem Fund is sponsoring self-esteem building
workshops with inspirational celebrities and new online tools in an effort
to educate moms, mentors and girls. The program also features "Onslaught,"
an attention- grabbing viral film that dramatizes the barrage of images and
messages girls constantly face. As with all Dove Campaigns, the impetus for
the program is grounded in startling new research about the factors that
influence girls' body image.
Girls Fixate on Flaws, Self-Esteem Suffers
According to a recent survey conducted by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund and
Seventeen magazine, more than four in 10 girls and young women only see
their flaws when they look in the mirror. This is not surprising
considering more than half of girls and young women say they get ideas for
the way they want their bodies to look from celebrities and media, and 56
percent of girls and young women believe celebrities tend to have perfect
"Girls are increasingly looking to celebrities as their role models
because they are widely celebrated in media and society," commented Ann
Kearney-Cooke, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and distinguished scholar for
the Partnership for Women's Health at Columbia University. "Girls take away
the message that these images represent a societal norm, and as a result
punish themselves for not living up to impossible beauty ideals. The cycle
continues to intensify as these perceived flawless images further inundate
their world in overwhelming quantities."
Images Surround Girls
Girls are being besieged with all types of media in nearly every corner
of their lives:
* The average person sees between 400 and 600 advertisements per day(1) -
equivalent to more than one message for every waking minute.
* The average US girl has the opportunity to see an estimated 77,546
commercials by the time she is 12 years old.(2)
This growing phenomenon is having a direct impact on girls' self-image
and even causing some to engage in destructive behavior. The Dove
Self-Esteem Fund/Seventeen Body Image Survey also revealed:
* 93 percent of girls and young women report feeling anxiety or stress
about some aspect of their looks when getting ready in the morning
* This could explain why more than 70 percent of girls and young women
avoid activities when they feel bad about their looks including
giving their opinion, attending school and even going to the
* 76 percent of girls and young women admit to partaking in unhealthy
activities when they feel badly about their bodies
* 58 percent of girls describe themselves in negative terms, including
words like "disgusting" and "ugly," when feeling badly about
* Nearly four out of 10 engage in unhealthy eating behaviors, such as
anorexia or bulimia.
* More than one out of 10 girls has used cutting or self-inflicted
injury as a coping mechanism.
"Girls today are exposed to more messages from Hollywood and the media
than past generations which can impact their self-esteem," said Jessica
Weiner, self-esteem expert and global ambassador for the Dove Self-Esteem
Fund. "Mothers, mentors and friends can help change girls' perceptions with
positive, self-esteem building discussions and activities."
Hollywood Takes Action
The Dove Self-Esteem Fund is partnering with Step Up Women's Network, a
national non-profit membership organization dedicated to strengthening
community resources for women and girls, to help girls recognize their own
unique beauty. Together, they will conduct self-esteem building workshops
giving girls a reality check to distinguish what is real versus Hollywood
magic and hopefully inspiring girls to think about their beauty role models
in a new way.
During these events, celebrities and self-esteem experts reveal secrets
about the armies of stylists, makeup artists, photographers, and staging
and computer technicians behind-the-scenes who produce the big screen and
cover shots. Jessica Weiner will lead each session and offer advice about
interpreting the multitude of messages. Notable female celebrities are
volunteering their time with the Dove Self-Esteem Fund to speak with girls
and share their personal perspectives.
"We all have a responsibility as marketers, educators, mentors and role
models, to change the way we communicate with girls. The entertainment
industry can be a powerful partner in educating girls," said Kathy O'Brien,
marketing director for Dove. "We may not be able to decrease the number of
messages girls receive, but we can educate girls about how they perceive
The Dove Self-Esteem Fund set a new goal to reach 5 million girls
globally by 2010 with self-esteem building programming. It has several
online resources that educate girls about Hollywood and media imagery as
well as foster the development of self-esteem. Moms, mentors and girls
should visit campaignforrealbeauty.com to utilize new self-esteem building
tools, view behind-the-scenes footage from the Dove Self-Esteem Fund/Step
Up workshops, talk to experts and watch "Onslaught." Visitors will also
soon have the opportunity to get an inside look at how real girls deal with
self-esteem issues in their daily lives.
About the Dove Self-Esteem Fund/Seventeen Body Image Survey
StrategyOne, an applied-research consulting firm, conducted a
nationally representative online survey among 1,014 girls and women ages
13-22 in the US to better understand the factors that impact their body
image. The survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent
at the 95 percent confidence level, was conducted using the online field
services of Harris Interactive. Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D. (Harvard University)
and Ann Kearney-Cooke, Ph.D. (Cincinnati Psychotherapy Institute), Dove
Self-Esteem Fund Advisors, provided expert guidance on the study.
About Campaign for Real Beauty
The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is a global effort that is intended
to serve as a starting point for societal change and act as a catalyst for
widening the definition and discussion of beauty. The campaign was created
in 2004 after the brand commissioned a global study that found that only
two percent of women around the world describe themselves as beautiful.
Employing various communication vehicles - advertising, a Web site,
billboards, events 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. Women's response to the campaign has been overwhelmingly
positive; nearly 4 million visitors have joined the conversation at
The Dove mission is to make women feel more 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, 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.
Unilever (NYSE: UL, UN), one of the world's largest consumer products
companies, aims to add vitality to life by meeting everyday needs for
nutrition, hygiene and personal care. Each day, around the world, consumers
make 160 million decisions to purchase Unilever products. The company has a
portfolio of brands that make people feel good, look good and get more out
In the United States these brands include recognized names such as:
Axe, "all," Ben & Jerry's, Bertolli, Breyers, Caress, Country Crock,
Degree, Dove personal care products, Hellmann's, Knorr, Lipton, Popsicle,
Promise, Q-Tips, Skippy, Slim-Fast, Snuggle, Suave, Sunsilk and Vaseline.
All of the preceding brand names are registered trademarks of the Unilever
Group of Companies. Dedicated to serving consumers and the communities
where we live, work and play, Unilever in the United States employs
approximately 13,000 people in more than 60 office and manufacturing sites
in 24 states and Puerto Rico - generating nearly $10 billion in sales in
2006. For more information, visit www.unileverusa.com.
About Step Up Women's Network
Step Up Women's Network is a national nonprofit membership organization
comprised of women who are dedicated to strengthening resources for women
and girls. Through teen empowerment programs, professional mentorship,
women's health activities and social networking opportunities, Step Up
educates and activates its members to ensure that women and girls have the
tools they need to create a better future. Step up offers various programs
that aim to give girls the skills and confidence they need to succeed in
their future. The organization's motto is "Invest, Involve and Inspire."
(1) Dittrich, L. "About-Face facts on the MEDIA."
http://www.about-face.org/r/facts/media.shtml. Accessed June 2005.
(2) The Nielsen Company, September 2007
(3) Beyond Stereotypes: Rebuilding the Foundation of Beauty Beliefs, A
Global Report, 2005