Last week I received a gift from Dove. I was flattered and I love their products and am a Dove user myself; but all I expected from them was something lovely which I would share on social media.
What I didn’t expect was a campaign that would hit my right in the guts of where I’m struggling at the moment. One of the biggest things I am working on with “Dr” Rob is my self esteem issues, to ensure I don’t let all my stuff seep into Charly’s consciousness. As women, we all seem to have them, the self esteem issues. Some of the most beautiful women I know are some of the most insecure. How does it happen that our entire self worth is tied up into something as simple as how we look? At least, that is where I am sitting at the moment.
I was bullied terribly as a child, and I was utterly terrified when I found out I was having a girl. The thought of her going through what I went through, having the mean girl voices be the voices in her head whenever she looks in the mirror killed me a little. It was only after the long and arduous journey into motherhood that I realised that what would be even worse than that, would be for her to hear my voice and the way I feel about myself as the voice in her head.
I had just had this epiphany in “Dr” Rob’s office the day I received Dove’s gift; followed by an email from their PR company that included a press release around the campaign. I am going to breach etiquette and publish the release as is at the end of this post, because I think it has been really well written and quite frankly says it better than I could.
Part of the campaign is a video that made me ugly cry, because I feel like if Charly could express these thoughts now, she might already start speaking down to herself as I do. It very clearly shows the influence that we as moms have on our daughters and how they feel about how they look. The moms and daughters are asked to write 2 lists each ~ what they like and what they don’t like about the way they look. The similarity in the lists really affect the moms, as they were largely unaware how much of what they felt about themselves had filtered through to their girls.
Just pause for a minute and think about that… What would your list look like? When “Dr” Rob asked me to list some things I liked about me physically, I came up with “I love my long hair” and “I really like my nails, when they aren’t broken and uneven, like they are at the moment”. That was it. The whole list. In my head I went through the possible characteristics I could use, and I could hear the voices in my head as I went – eyes, great colour but too small; nose – slightly skew on one side; skin – appalling; mouth – yay for pouty, but too narrow… It goes on like that.
My daughter is magnificently beautiful, she looks so much like her daddy and I am grateful for that every day. Somebody at a class we are in commented on her weight the other day and how she will slim down as she grows, and then she looked at me and kind of half laughed and trailed off. I wanted to pummel her. My daughter is NOT fat. Not even in the cute “fat” baby way. I have seen fat babies and chubby toddlers and I really don’t see her that way and I want to rage out completely every time somebody even at hints at it. And that is my stuff coming up, and I need to squash it before she feels it and takes it onto herself.
She is watching us and listening to us; her parents, her aunts and uncles, her grandparents and she is hearing our voices as we comment on our flabby tummies or bad skin or unattractiveness. We are the voices in her head. And we need to be better.
I am trying so badly to be better. And Dove didn’t just drop this reminder and research on us, they also sent an empty glass jar and some post its (and of course the obligatory fresh smelling soaps that Charly stole immediately and ran around smelling all day).
They’ve called it the #BeautyLegacy kit. The idea is that instead of all the negative things we fill ourselves up with, we fill the jar with positive messages and affirmation. Things we wish we felt, things we wish somebody had said to us, things that make us feel loved and cherished and beautiful. And then we pass it on to the next generation of girls in our lives, our daughters; so that on the days where they are feeling all the bad stuff, they can reach in and pull out one thought that might turn things around for them.
They take it a step further by suggesting you post special messages around the house or where your daughters will see them, to remind yourself and them of the beauty legacy you would like to leave. And they also suggest creating a special notice board where you can showcase your own and your children’s achievements.
I love it. I love this idea. I love the amazingly creative public relations person out there who came up with this idea. It is something I can physically do NOW, while I am working on changing the voices in my head so that the voice in my daughters will be nothing but confidence and self belief.
In an interview I recently did, I said that the most important thing I’d like to teach my child is that “she is perfect just the way she is – she is strong and smart and gorgeous. I want to teach her to love and respect herself first and to believe in herself completely. If I could give my child one gift only in this life, it would be to be free of insecurity.” I’m going to try to incorporate Dove’s Beauty Legacy kit into my plan to do this.
I have always been a fan of Dove, but this concept, going out and educating young girls on self-esteem in an effort to break this cycle of shattered self images, has taken that to a whole new level. Well done Dove and thanks for reaching out to me right when I needed it.
Sending all the love xx
Dove inspires women to leave a Positive Beauty Legacy
Dove Self-Esteem Project encourages women to create a positive beauty legacy for the next generation
Is the way you feel about your looks something constructed over time or something you are born with? Dove believes beauty is a construct, and Dove research indicates the way women feel about their own beauty is having a profound effect on the self-esteem of girls around them.
Global research from Dove shows nearly three quarters of girls (71%) feel pressure to be beautiful,1 but are less likely to let anxiety about looks hold them back if they feel they have a positive role model2. With a troubling 8 out of 10 women saying they dislike at least one aspect of their physical appearance, Dove is asking all women to make a difference to the lives of the next generation by ensuring their own beauty legacy is a positive one. A film from the global brand, Dove: Legacy, [http://youtu.be/JiZduqXCdjE] illustrates how important it is for women to see the beauty in themselves, so that they can pass those positive feelings on to the girls in their lives.
Dove believes all women have a role to play in setting a confident example for the next generation by feeling good about their own beauty and acting with positivity towards the way they look. Expert members of the Dove Self-Esteem Project’s Global Advisory Board, Jess Weiner and Sharon Haywood, have offered some top tips for all women for how to be a strong role model, including rejecting perfectionism, cutting out self-criticism and openly supporting other women. And on 9 October 2015 in London, the Dove Self-Esteem Project will host the first-ever Women in the World: Generation Girl Summit as part of Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit series. Through this exclusive partnership, Dove will connect real role models with real girls to inspire and encourage young women to recognize their potential and pursue excellence.
The research shows girls can name an average of three women in their lives they look up to, with mums identified as the number one role model for more than half of them4. “The Dove: Legacy film focuses on this influence of mums and shows the direct effect their feelings about beauty, both positive and negative, have on their daughters. The mums and daughters (7-10 years old) in the film were invited to write two lists each: what they like and do not like about the way they look. The film reveals that daughters’ lists are remarkably similar to their mums’ lists, emphasising how in-tune girls are with even the subconscious cues their role models give them and how feelings about beauty can be passed on to the next generation.”
“Whether she is a mother, aunt, coach, teacher, or sister, every woman has the opportunity to make a difference to a girl’s self-esteem,” said Kate Swan, marketing manager at Dove South Africa. “By ensuring their own beauty legacy is positive, all women can help the next generation of girls grow up to be happy and content, free from the pressure of beauty stereotypes and the burden of self-doubt.”
Dove Self-Esteem Project
As part of its commitment to helping the next generation of women raise their self-esteem and realise their full potential, the Dove Self-Esteem Project delivers self-esteem education to young people (primarily girls) aged 7-17 years through lessons in schools, activities for mentors, online resources for parents and partnerships with youth organizations.
The Dove South Africa Self-Esteem Project is making an impact in schools across Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, addressing issues around body confidence and self-esteem. This is presented in an interactive and dynamic way, with engaging presenters who inspire their young audience to view their own beauty in a different light. The Dove South Africa Self-Esteem Project is currently in its second year and has already reached over 72 000 young girls to date.
Dove Self-Esteem Project resources have been developed in collaboration with parents, teachers, youth leaders and self-esteem experts as well as endorsed by an independent global advisory board and academically validated to prove their positive impact. The education programmes and fun interactive activities, downloadable at http://selfesteem.dove.co.za , are designed to help girls overcome beauty-related anxieties that stop them from being happy and confident. The Dove Self-Esteem Project has reached over 16 million young people globally to date with self-esteem education and with your help we can reach even more.