Dove Responds To New Study: Low Self-Esteem In Girls Resulted From Idealized Beauty Advice on Social Media

 Teens in the US are spending increasing amounts of time on social media. NEW Dove Self-Esteem Project research proves this to be true. 2 in 3 girls in the US are spending more than an hour each day on social media, which is more than they are spending in person with friends. Beauty advice fills their feeds, but unfortunately, it is not all positive. In fact, 1 in 2 girls say idealized beauty content on social media causes low self-esteem. 

The Dove Self-Esteem Project research concluded that the majority of girls realize that less time on social media and taking control of what they scroll, is part of the solution. In fact, 7 in 10 girls felt better after unfollowing idealized beauty content on social media.  

For years, Dove has championed wider definitions of beauty and has taken action towards making social media a more positive place with campaigns like #SpeakBeautiful, #NoDigitalDistortion and Reverse Selfie/Selfie Talk.

Today, the Dove Self-Esteem Project is launching the #DetoxYourFeed campaign to empower teens to define their own beauty standards and choose their own influences by inviting them to unfollow anything that doesn’t make them feel good about themselves. Through a series of films, educational content, and partnerships with inspiring voices, the campaign encourages necessary conversations between parents, caregivers and teens about the dangers of toxic beauty advice.

In a longform campaign film, Toxic Influence, moms and their teens engage in a dialogue around harmful beauty advice on social media. The film highlights dangerous topics like “fitspo,” “thinspo” and the promotion of elective cosmetic procedures to young girls. Moms who participated were surprised to learn that this type of harmful beauty advice has become normalized for their daughters. They were inspired to have the important conversations around what their daughters are seeing in their feeds.

“We’ve identified a clear problem that is eroding the self-esteem of our girls and needs immediate attention and action. We created this #DetoxYourFeed campaign to not only raise awareness around the insidious nature of toxic beauty advice, but to also help parents navigate tough conversations and empower teens to unfollow content that makes them feel bad about themselves,” says Leandro Barreto, Global Vice President of Dove. “While it may be a bit overwhelming at times, we hope it will contribute to important conversations that lead to a more positive experience for teens on social media.”

80% of girls would like their parents to talk to them about how to manage idealized beauty posts, so the Dove Self-Esteem Project has developed academically-validated resources and tools to help parents navigate important conversations with their kids and empower teens to #DetoxYourFeed:

  • “Detox Your Feed: The Parents Guide” – a three-minute educational film for parents, caregivers and mentors on facilitating conversations with young people about the harms of social media.
  • “The Confidence Kit” – free Dove Self-Esteem Project workbook and tool featuring a new section, “Detox Your Feed: Talking to Your Kids About Toxic Social Media Advice.”

Additional resources to change the way parents and teens think and talk about beauty will also be made available. The Dove Real Talk Parent workshop – a free, virtual, live-stream event and Q&A session being held on May 12th with cultural expert Jess Weiner and leading psychotherapist Nadia Addesi – will provide parents with the tools to fight toxic influence on teens’ social media feeds.

Registered Social Worker & Psychotherapist, Nadia Addesi, who has used her expertise to foster digital self-esteem for her community on TikTok, says “This campaign is important as public discourse grows around the harmful effects social media can have on girls. It contextualizes the insidious nature of harmful beauty advice that’s become normalized in teens’ feeds. While it might feel harmless, given half of girls say social media causes low self-esteem, ongoing exposure has the potential to have a negative and lasting impact. “

The Dove Self-Esteem Project is the world’s largest provider of body confidence education globally, reaching more than 82 million young people across 150 countries to-date through initiatives like the #DetoxYourFeed campaign. In the U.S alone, Dove reaches more than six million kids per year, through partnerships with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and education consultancy, Cairn Guidance. By 2030, Dove will have helped 250 million kids and teens boost their self-esteem through educational programming and no-cost resources.

To help spread the #DetoxYourFeed message, Dove is partnering with Gabrielle Union and Zaya Wade to remind everyone that the power to curate your feed and overall experience with social media is in your hands. “As a parent and someone who’s felt the pressures from social media to look perfect, it’s important to me that people realize what’s on their teens’ feeds and help them confidently navigate conversations about it.’ says Gabrielle Union. Zaya Wade adds, “I want people to know they can prioritize themselves and set boundaries on social media, and that it can be a positive place if you unfollow content that doesn’t make you feel good.”

Dove believes no one should follow anyone into thinking they aren’t beautiful and empowering teens to #DetoxYourFeed will help build the body confidence and self-esteem of a quarter billion girls by 2030. Go to Dove.com/Detoxify to watch Dove’s NEW Toxic Influence film and learn how to #DetoxYourFeed. Together, we can change beauty.

Share your experience and help us change beauty by using the hashtag #DetoxYourFeed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok tagging @Dove and #DoveSelfEsteemProject.

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