Held live from London with participants from more than 20 countries connecting online, the April 20 event, #Behind the Filter, was a conversation on digital distortion, which the Unilever beauty brand has had in its crosshairs for more than a decade.
Fifteen years after starting a conversation around Photoshop and image manipulation in media and advertising, Dove continues to challenge digital distortion and its impact on the next generation with a new film, Reverse Selfie.
Rooted in new research from the Dove Self-Esteem Project, the film depicts how far retouching apps can distort reality, and how young girls are changing their appearance for social media.
‘Reverse Selfie’ undoes the emotional and physical stages of a young girl posting a selfie to social media, highlighting how editing tools once only available to professionals can now be accessed by anyone – even young girls – without regulation.
Filter It Out
The amount of time teens spend online has doubled during the pandemic – up to 44% from 22%– increasing their exposure to digitally distorted images, which can ultimately lead to low self-esteem, according to Dove and Statista (June 2020).
Furthermore, new research from Mintel revealed that more than 63% of Americans say they are inspired by beauty brands that show diversity in advertising, with the majority of those who would like to see diversity in beauty/grooming advertising saying they feel this way because it “reflects real life” (68%) and “shows that there are different ways to be beautiful" (56%).
Dove Global Communications & Sustainability Director Firdaous El Honsali weighed in at the April 20 event regarding today’s teens and their struggle with self-image.
“We see so much creativity and expression of self-identity through the use of filters, but when editing apps are used to digitally distort images to conform to unrealistic beauty standards that cannot be achieved in real life, it can be damaging to the self-esteem of young people. Dove wants to highlight this issue and provide tools to parents to help young people navigate social media in a positive way.”
El Honsail added, “For over 60 years, Dove has advocated for real beauty. Part of that is our ‘No Digital Distortion’ Mark – that tells you that the people in our ads are just as you’d see them in real life. With the rise of social media, digital distortion is now happening on a much bigger scale, by younger people, without regulation.”
According to Dre Brown, an educator with Dove, the Dove Self-Esteem Project was established in 2004 to help the next generation develop a positive relationship with the way they look so they are not held back by appearance-related anxiety and can realize their full potential. Created in partnership with the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of West England, Dove Self-Esteem Project tools are academically validated and free to download.
So far, The Dove Self-Esteem Project has reached more than 69 million young people across 150 countries, making it one of the largest providers of body confidence education globally. By 2030, Dove predicts it will have helped 250 million through the program.
Linking Up with Lizzo
Dove welcomed Grammy award-winning, multi-platinum superstar and body confidence advocate Lizzo to its family of spokespeople with the shared mission of making a positive experience of beauty universally accessible to all.
“I love how this generation is so creative in the ways in which they express themselves. It’s really inspiring to see how people are taking their identity and their beauty into their own hands. However, people are struggling with their self-image and self-confidence more than ever,” Lizzo said.
“This is amplified by the increasing pressure to show a digitally distorted version of ourselves, reinforcing the idea that our beauty in real life is not good enough or worthy of likes. That’s why The Dove Self-Esteem Project and I want you to have The Selfie Talk with a young person in your life. It’s happening to young people everywhere, so let’s talk about it,” she added.
Get There on Social
Dove is offering a kit for consumers regarding social media and self-esteem. The company is encouraging Dove fans to visit Dove.com/TheSelfieTalk to download the new Confidence Kit and share info on The Selfie Talk on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok @Dove by tagging #TheSelfieTalk and #DoveSelfEsteemProject.