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Dove: The truth about beauty

“Our vision is of a world where beauty is a source of confidence, and not anxiety”


Dove has always been a brand focused on encouraging women to realise their own beauty. Their mission is simple: they want to boost women’s self-esteem and promote the beauty of real women. They carried out some research into women’s self-esteem, body image and body confidence and gathered some interesting findings about how women view themselves. Their results motivated them to develop the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty and the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem that both aimed to deconstruct and reconstruct women’s definitions of beauty.

The Dove Truth About Beauty Study highlighted some important universal issues relating to women and younger girls across the world who find it particularly difficult to recognise their own beauty. They gave women choices of positive and neutral adjectives to describe their appearance and found that a tiny 4% of women would class themselves as beautiful, and even though this was up from 2% in 2004, it’s still a shockingly small number of women realising their own beauty - and this is what Dove wants to change. Even though such a small number would be happy to class themselves as beautiful, 31% would describe their looks as “natural” and 29% would describe their looks as “average”. In contrast, very small percentages of women picked words like “cute”, “stunning” or “sexy” to describe their appearance.

Despite their difficulty to pinpoint positive words to fit their looks, 80% of women all agree that every woman has something beautiful about her, but they just can’t find it on their own face or body. When it comes to how we look, it’s clear that we are our own worst beauty critic and 54% of women agree that their biggest critic is themselves. Dove also found that a large percentage of women agree that a woman can be beautiful at any age and a large 77% of women agree that beauty may not necessarily have anything to do with physical appearance.

The Truth About Beauty Study was carried out using women aged between 18-64 across 10 different countries including Great Britain, USA, Canada, Italy, France, Portugal, Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina and Japan to see if the issue of beauty confidence occurs across the globe. From their results, a lack of association with the word “beautiful” is prominent universally, across all age groups. Dove then concluded that body image and self-confidence is a world-wide issue that they are tackling and aiming to change for good.

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