DOVE MARKS 20 YEARS OF REAL BEAUTY

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) threatens the representation of real beauty today, Dove is the first beauty brand to commit to never using AI to represent real people in its advertising

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20 years ago, Dove showed the world what beauty looks like when it’s real. In 2004, it began with a startling truth; only 2% of women globally considered themselves beautiful. Since then, Dove has been dedicated to taking action to make a positive experience with beauty accessible to everyone by challenging society, media and the beauty industry itself to widen its representation, be transparent about digital distortion, and face-up to the harmful impact unrealistic beauty standards have on women and girls.

To mark 20 years of championing real beauty, Dove conducted a new sweeping study  to understand the state of beauty around the world today. While there has been some positive change, the state of beauty in 2024 isn’t pretty.

The outsized value society places on appearance has intensified the pressure to be a certain type of beautiful. In its 2024 The Real State of Beauty: a global report, Dove found that 4 in 10 women (42%) in Canada would give up at least a year of their life to achieve their beauty ideals. The study shows that in Canada, while beauty ideals have evolved over the years to be more inclusive across race, orientation, gender and size, the checklist of appearance ideals is growing and impossible to meet – from looking healthy (81%) to also being slim (74%) and having a small waist (71%) while also being curvy (57%).

In fact, 2 in 3 women (64%) in Canada believe that women today are expected to be more physically attractive than their mother’s generation was. As society and technology progresses, pressures to look a certain way are coming from all fronts.

Today, almost 8 in 10 Canadian women (84%) and girls (87%) say they have been exposed to harmful beauty content on social media. One of the biggest threats to the representation of real beauty is Artificial Intelligence. With 90% of the content online expected to be AI-generated by 2025, the rise of AI is a threat to women’s wellbeing, with 2 in 5 women (43%) and girls (43%) feeling pressure to alter their appearance because of what they see online, even when they know it’s fake or AI generated. 

While AI has the potential to foster creativity and access to beauty, almost half of women (48%) and girls (51%) feel they can create different versions of themselves using AI and avatars in video games/VR but believe it can have a negative impact on how they view themselves. Demonstrating that , there is still an urgent need for greater representation and transparency in content created by AI.

“Despite 20 years of work to broaden definitions of beauty, women feel less confident in their own beauty than they did a decade ago,” explains Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs, Research Psychologist at the Centre of Appearance Research at the University of West England and body image expert. “Representation is more important than ever. As AI technology continues to evolve, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between what is real beauty and what is manufactured by AI.”      

Today, women and girls overwhelmingly agree that real beauty means being authentic, who you are, and embracing our differences. 

In line with the last two decades, Dove will continue taking action to dismantle toxic beauty standards until beauty is a source of happiness and confidence, not anxiety, for everyone. Dove will continue to stand for “real,” and champion transparency and diversity in beauty by becoming the first beauty brand to commit to never using AI in place of real people in its advertising.

To help set new digital standards of representation, Dove has created the Real Beauty Prompt Guidelines – easy to use guidance on how to create images that are more representative of Real Beauty on the most popular generative AI programs, for anyone that chooses to explore this new technology.

“At Dove, we seek a future in which women get to decide and declare what real beauty looks like – not algorithms. As we navigate the opportunities and challenges that come with new and emerging technology, we remain committed to protect, celebrate, and champion Real Beauty. Pledging to never use AI in our communications is just one step. We will not stop until beauty is a source of happiness, not anxiety, for every woman and girl,” explains Alessandro Manfredi, Chief Marketing Officer, Dove

New Dove campaign, The Code, reflects the impact of AI on beauty and sheds light on the importance of women having the power to see real beauty reflected in new and emerging media.

The campaign will also be supported by an inspiring cast of empowering women across generations – musician and actor Reba McEntire, actor and TV host Drew Barrymore, actor Beanie Feldstwin Feldstein and actor Marsai Martin, to name a few –  who will lend their voices and stories to raise awareness and celebrate real beauty.

The work Dove began in 2004 is far from over. Dove will never stop championing better representation, taking action to break beauty stereotypes, and standing up for power of Real Beauty. We can’t drive change alone. Together, let’s change beauty.

Learn more and join us to #KeepBeautyReal at Dove.com/keepbeautyreal.

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