Real Girls, Real Stories: Dove’s latest campaign questions society on the beauty card given to young girls

The brand film brings to fore beauty-based judgements that young girls are subjected to by the society in the guise of advice, asks consumers to confront these prejudices and redefine what it means to be beautiful. 

India’s Beauty Obsession

Last year, Dove began a movement provoking the nation to confront how beauty biases are amplified during the process of finding a life partner. 

The campaign showcased how the remarks deeply impacted the self-esteem of prospective brides.  

As Dove was addressing these angsts and discouraging societal stereotypes within the construct of marriage, the brand uncovered a key moment of truth wherein the first tryst with appearance-led anxiety amongst women started much younger – as early as adolescence. 

At a time when these girls should be concentrating on education, they are being unknowingly subjected to beauty biases by society. 

This early conditioning and grooming leads to them being graded as per a societal prescription of beauty – significantly affecting their overall confidence.  

Dove’s #StopTheBeautyTest 2.0, the second leg of the initial campaign, has shifted its focus on the root of the problem – from prospective brides to teenage girls. 

The film features real girls who narrate real stories of how they have been subjected to varied beauty tests based on their appearances and thereby rated by society on their looks instead of their intellect / aptitude. 

80% of Indian school girls have faced this test. (Based on the research conducted by Hansa Research during Dec’20. N=1057 females across 17 urban cities in India). 

Through this effort, Dove intends to send a powerful message – to change ‘beauty’ from its conventional lens and bring an end to report cards that are based on external remarks. 

The brand urges society to place emphasis on in-classroom education instead of seeing young girls from the eyes of a prospective groom.   

The Dove Self-Esteem Project was created from a vision to empower 8 million young people by 2025 – helping them to break through the stereotypes, stand up for themselves, raise their self-esteem and realize their full potential. 

Let’s Change Beauty and Pledge to #StopTheBeautyTest 

Acting upon this, Madhusudhan Rao, Executive Director, Beauty & Personal Care for Hindustan Unilever Limited opined, “Over the last 10 years, with the Dove Self-Esteem Project, we are working towards a vision where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. We want to empower young girls to rise above the unjust beauty report cards given to them and be confident in their own skin. 

As a brand that is committed to taking tangible action to change beauty, we hope the real-life stories of young girls is an eye opener for the society to take notice leading to a behavior change. Dove is on a mission to ensure the next generation grows up enjoying a positive relationship with the way they look.” 

Harman Dhillon – Vice President, Hair Care, Unilever opined, “Our new campaign further fortifies our commitment to widen the definition of beauty and ensure its representation is holistic and inclusive. With Dove’s #StopTheBeautyTest initiative, we intend to bring to light the beauty report card, which young girls can be subjected to, thereby reducing their self-esteem. 

With this campaign we want to urge society to look beyond beauty stereotypes and celebrate every girl’s individuality and uniqueness.”  

Zenobia Pithawalla, Senior Executive Creative Director & Mihir Chanchani, Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy: “The ‘beauty test’ has become such an integral part of our society that it starts right from the school years for girls. Their face and body become a marksheet for society to score. 

In this campaign, Dove shows us the plight and the determination of the school girls to not give into this grading system. It urges society to stop the beauty test and to start building beauty confidence of young girls.” 

Fortifying Dove’s partnership with UNICEF further – through the Unilever – Dove Self-Esteem Project, the brand is training teachers to deliver educational modules around body confidence and self-esteem to the younger generation as a part of the life skills curriculum. 

Abigail Dias, Senior Vice President, Planning: “When it comes to beauty-related anxieties, most women suffer in silence as they deal with the pressures of conformity to stereotypes. Dove’s ‘Stop The Beauty Test’ is a campaign and a platform that brings out in the open the issues that gradually diminish and chip away at women’s self-worth. This year, we’re going back in time to when the pressure and conditioning to make them ‘suitable brides’ really begins. 

For more than 80% of Indian women, that happens to be when they’re still school-going teenagers. The campaign is a reflection of real stories that we hope will continue to inspire change and further Dove’s ambition of a world where women can enjoy beauty on their own terms.”   

Commenting on the partnership, Aurelia Ardito, UNICEF India Education Specialist said, “One fourth of India’s population is aged between 10 to 24 years old. It becomes even more important to ensure these young minds are educated and equipped with the right knowledge, skills and training – especially when it comes to self-esteem and body confidence. 

Through Dove Self-Esteem Project, we’re empowering young girls to realize their potential to the fullest and thereby contributing to their future and their role in their community. To attain maximum impact, we’ve started training teachers to deliver sessions on body confidence as part of the life skills curriculum in schools.” 

Watch the video campaign:


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