Dove reveals 70% of women globally do not feel represented by everyday images – and 67% of women are calling for brands to step up and start taking responsibility for the imagery they use.
Global – Dove has taken action with Getty Images, Girlgaze and women around the world to create Project #ShowUs – the world’s largest stock photo library created by women and non-binary individuals to shatter beauty stereotypes by showing women as they are, not as others believe they should be.
This significant new project will drive a more diverse and inclusive visual landscape through media and advertising.
Dove, together with its partners Getty Images and Girlgaze, announces Project #ShowUs; its largest and most ambitious initiative to date. With over 5,000 images, Project #ShowUs is the world’s largest stock photo library created by women and non-binary individuals to shatter beauty stereotypes and is available now for the media and advertising industries to view, license and use in their next project or campaign. The ambition? To come together and put an end to the narrow definition of beauty consistently portrayed around the world, setting a new standard for the authentic, diverse and inclusive representation of women across the world.
71% of South African women say they still don’t feel represented in the images they see every day.
Many of us know the mantra “You can’t be what you can’t see,” yet despite this, and decades of work by Dove, Getty Images and Girlgaze to liberate women from limiting stereotypes, many images continue to impose unrealistic beauty standards that present a narrow view of who women are, what they should look like, and what they can achieve. Every day, women’s lives are affected by these limitations, exclusions and stereotypes.
It affects their health, relationships and the opportunities they are given.
- A year in the making, the library features more than 5,000 photographs
Every image shot by 116 Girlgaze photographers; representing a diverse global community of women, non-binary and female-identifying photographers
- Featuring individuals from 39 countries and counting; each image created by women and non-binary photographers who understand the beauty landscape of that country for a more authentic, hyper-local and inclusive representation of beauty
- For the first time on Getty Images, every individual of the 179 photographed has personally defined their own search descriptions and tags for their images, allowing them to define their beauty in their own language, on their own terms, ensuring they feel realistically represented
No digital distortion, just an unapologetically inclusive vision of beauty project #ShowUs is created in partnership with Getty Images – one of the world’s leading creators and distributors of imagery – and Girlgaze – a network of 200,000 female-identifying and non-binary creatives from all around the world.
This ground-breaking library of images will be available for use by media and advertisers from today as Dove calls upon creative and media professionals to join them in redefining how women are represented in the images we see around us every single day; celebrating a more diverse and inclusive portrayal of beauty and supporting the confidence of women around the globe by showing them as they want to be seen.
These images have been created and self-tagged by the women themselves and, as well as asking media and advertisers to licence them for their upcoming projects; we are also offering women around the world the opportunity to become part of the change and add their images to the library too.
71% of South African women still don’t feel represented in media and advertising; the move to a broader definition of beauty has never been more pressing. In one of the most extensive global studies of its kind, Dove research study shows that globally 67% of women are calling for brands to step up and start taking responsibility for the stock imagery they use, while in South Africa, a staggering 75% of women feel the same way. On Getty Images, the search term “real people” has increased +192% over the past year, “diverse women” by +168%, and “strong women” by +187% providing more evidence of the demand for a more realistic portrayal of women and beauty. There is also a huge need for stock imagery to include women in more progressive and empowering roles and scenarios with “women leaders” up by +202%.
Globally, women wish media and advertisers did a better job of portraying women of physical diversity with two thirds (66%) currently feeling there is limited body shapes and sizes and 64% feeling characteristics such as scars, freckles and skin conditions are unrepresented.
Local research has also revealed the following about how women feel about representation by the media and advertising industries in South Africa:
- 8 in 10 (82%) South African women wish media and advertisers did a better job of portraying women of diverse appearance, including age, race, shape and size
- Three quarters (75%) of South African women say that pressure from media and advertising drives anxiety around appearance and beauty in general
- 8 in 10 (84%) South African women say that if everyday media images were more representative of the way most women in the country looked, then women would feel better about themselves
- Better representation can also have a positive impact on girls. 8 in 10 (82%) South African women say that this would enable girls to grow up without feeling that they are being judged just on their looks and 8 in 10 (76%) believe that it would mean that girls were not held back by gender stereotypes
The constant bombardment of beauty stereotypes is making 7 in 10 women feel pressurised to reach an unrealistic standard of beauty, contributing to an appearance anxiety epidemic. Women who feel worse about themselves as a result of seeing a narrow definition of beauty day in, day out is impacting their daily lives – from being assertive (30%) to wearing the clothes they want (49%) or expressing their true identity (37%).
Dr Rebecca Swift, Creative Insights Director at Getty Images, comments: “Getty Images is a passionate champion for the realistic representation of all through imagery, and through this partnership is proud to be leading the visual industry to change the way women’s beauty is represented in media and advertising. While we’ve seen a positive shift in the popularity of photography that realistically represents women, there’s a lot more to be done. Project #ShowUs will break visual clichés on an unprecedented scale, and we invite all media and advertisers to join the movement.”
Sphelele Mjadu, Unilever Personal Care Senior Public Relations Manager for Africa concludes that “Project #ShowUs marks yet another milestone step by Dove to combat unhelpful beauty stereotypes and empower women everywhere so that their beauty is a source of confidence, and not anxiety. Project #ShowUs is pioneering this change because our reality is that women can’t be what they can’t see, and so with this understanding, Dove looks to challenge unhelpful beauty stereotypes at their source, in a bid to ultimately help women everywhere.”
How to get involved:
Media and advertisers – it’s up to all of us to expand how we are portrayed. View, license and use the photos in Project #ShowUs for your next project or campaign at GettyImages.com/ShowUs. This is just the beginning. Every image licensed will support female photographers of the future and grow the photo library further, so that all media & advertisers can reflect the authentic experiences of women around the world.
Women around the world – #ShowUs more women like you. Want to help expand the definition of beauty? Join us at Dove.com/ShowUs to share your images, and you could become part of the Project #ShowUs photo library.
Project #ShowUs is part of Unilever’s commitment to UN Women’s Unstereotype Alliance – a cross-industry global initiative which uses the power of advertising and media to free the world from harmful stereotypes that hold back people and society.