For those of us working in the eating disorder field, we know the negative impact social media can have on kids and teens, especially young girls. For years, Dove has been at the forefront of campaigning to change beauty standards, and have made several videos that focus on people who deviate from what our country considers stereotypically beautiful.
This new campaign, which Dove is calling the Self-Esteem Project, might be its most powerful yet. Proof? Watch this video Dove put out – and I dare you not to cry!
Now that you’re sobbing, let’s talk about why this video and project is so powerful. For many parents, they watch helplessly as their beautiful, loving, intelligent, playful child becomes consumed by their phones and the negative messages about what they “should” look like. Rarely do I see videos depicting a child going from carefree to totally consumed by looking thin, but this is something I hear about every day in my office. Even as a therapist, I can tell when my clients have difficulty accessing their authentic selves because of the way beauty standards have consumed their whole being. Even more heartbreaking is when parents come in, talking about how they feel like they have “lost” their child.
Dove is taking a stand on this, and has created a campaign that is designed to “[help] young people overcome body image issues and fulfill their potential by building positive body confidence and self-esteem.” They have created resources for parents, teachers, and youth leaders that help ensure that messages that kids and teens get are consistent with body neutrality and positivity instead of diet culture. There’s articles sorted by age group that talk about topics ranging from body shaming to emotion coaching (how to actively listen and validate) to bullying and peer pressure. Not only is this project helping adults understand the mindset of this younger generation, but they’re providing a blueprint on how to counteract the negative messaging that kids are receiving online everyday.
Want to see how great it is for yourself? Here’s the website – have fun exploring! https://www.dove.com/us/en/dove-self-esteem-project.html.