Sunday, January 17, 2010

30 Days of Justice: Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

3:15 AM
Beauty. It brings a different image to mind in each of us. Some may picture nature, or a child, a painting, or a woman. We all find beauty in different places and see it different ways. Some things are beautiful to one, that may not be to another. Because of our visual culture, the media has given us an image of what beauty in a person, or more specifically, a woman “should” look like. From the size her waist to the tint of her teeth, all women know what the acceptable ideal of beauty is.

Sadly, this ideal of what beauty “should” be, starts at an early age. Girls younger and younger are picking up on cues from their mothers, sisters, magazines, and TV shows. Take a look at some of these overwhelming stats:

*In a study of almost 500 schoolgirls, 81% of the 10 year olds reported they had dieted at least once.
*Dieting is more common than not dieting, with 95% of the female population having dieted at some time.
*The ten most popular magazines most commonly read by men and women were reviewed for ads & articles related to weight loss: the women’s magazines contained 10.5 times more articles related to dieting and weight loss than the men’s.
*69% of female television characters are thin, only 5% are overweight
*Average person sees between 400 and 600 ads PER DAY – that is 40 million to 50 million by the time s/he is 60 years old. One of every 11 commercials has a direct message about beauty.
*Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women. The average American woman is 5’4” and 140lbs. The average American model is 5’11” and weighs 117 lbs.

With facts and numbers like this, it's no wonder girls struggle with eating disorders, stay in abusive relationships, or just devalue themselves so much, they allow others to take advantage of them. And who can blame them, when this is what we face on a daily basis.

Watch this powerful video on the media's evolution of "beauty".

A few years ago, one consumer company decided to do something to change the tide. Dove, the creator of bath & beauty products, launched a new program called The Campaign for Real Beauty. This campaign specifically targets high school and middle school age girls, when their identity is so formidable. On their site, girls can find tools to help build their self-esteem...from online workshops, to articles & videos. Their desire and mission is to free ourselves and the next generation from beauty stereotypes. Whether you are a mom, a teacher, a guidance counselor, or youth leader, there are resources for you and the girls in your life through Dove. I greatly appreciate the work Dove is doing and am using their resources in my own job, empowering high school and middle students around Hillsborough County. I challenge you to do the same thing in your world. Never know what future leader we are shaping.

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!