Skye Thomas

Skye Thomas
Writer, Rebel, and Soapbox Ranter

Thursday, May 11, 2006

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

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

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