SPONSORED FEATURE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH DOVE
BOOST THE CONFIDENCE OF YOUNG WOMEN IN YOUR LIFE WITH THE DOVE SELF-ESTEEM PROJECT
It’s such a cliche, but every January without fail the phrase ‘New Year, New You’ is bashed around like it’s the last box of gifted chocolates you’re trying to get rid of. With the dawn of a new year and a new month, it provides the perfect opportunity to refresh and restart – counteracting all the damage you did over the party season, when too many glasses of fizz and too many second helpings left you feeling sluggish and a little bloated. However, whilst messaging around taking care of yourself isn’t necessarily damaging, this constant focus on reinventing ourselves and reaching impossible heights, rather than just living our best lives, can leave us with lower self-esteem than ever before.
According to Dove, ‘new you’ messaging was posted on Twitter over 13,000 times during January 2017. With an increasing amount of pressure for us to jump on a treadmill and undertake a juice cleanse just to feel worthy at this time of year, I can tell you that my inbox will be flooded in the next few weeks with press releases heralding every product going as the key to a slimmer body, more beautiful face and detoxed mind – and it does get a touch too much. Although I fully intend to get back on the gym bandwagon and reduce my pigs-in-blankets consumption considerably, I’m realistic in my expectations and know that I won’t reveal a supermodel body with a few weeks living a bit healthier; but how many young women are in a position to understand the same?
New research from Dove has found that 61% of 10-17-year-old girls in the UK say they do not have high body esteem, with 71% of those stating they feel pressure to be beautiful. Rather worryingly, 8 in 10 girls admit to feeling worse about themselves after looking at images of ‘beautiful girls’ in magazines (10% higher than the global average,) which is only exacerbated with the January mindset of improving self-image. In a world that’s so focused on the curation of a beautiful Instagram feed, and our popularity is determined by likes and comments, it’s no surprise we’re falling into a comparison trap and our resulting confidence levels are plummeting.
As another year begins it seems we’ve still got a long way to go in order to boost the confidence of young women and start proving to them their value does not correspond to their appearance, and much of the mainstream media (and especially the beauty and fashion industries) has a lot to answer for. Although brands such as Dove have been making huge headway in illustrating real beauty in all different forms, we can open up the conversation even further and ensure our young people grow up knowing they’re beautiful inside and out – and that they can achieve whatever they set their minds to.
Since 2004 Dove has been making a concerted effort to build our self-esteem by using ‘real women’ in their advertising and showcasing diversity in everything they do, and by 2020 they aim to have helped 40 million young people to also reach their full potential. This January they’re launching a new campaign as part of their Dove Self-Esteem Project, as they understand low body confidence and anxieties over appearance stop young people being their best selves – affecting their health, friendships and even performance at school. Their online hub at dove.com/selfesteem provides academically proven tools, aids and conversation starters for parents, teachers and those in positions of influence to start us on a more positive journey; topics include how to spot bullying, how social media effects teenagers, the impact of celebrity culture, helping young people to understand photo retouching, the importance of uniqueness and understanding cultural backgrounds, how to celebrate inner beauty and teaching girls how to take a compliment.
Whether you’re a parent yourself, have young people in your family or friendship circle, are a teacher or are in a position of trust, or are even an influencer in some capacity online, it’s a very useful resource and once that provides potentially life changing information for many. It provides the tools required to approach often difficult conversations, as well as helping you to subtly help the young people in your life when they may need it the most (especially at this time of year when the pressure to be body perfect is at its highest.) As someone who has two very young and impressionable girls close to her, I’m very aware of the pressure they’re under and the influence others have on them; it’s amazing to see Dove trying to help and start those conversations in order to fill a whole new generation with the confidence that many of us have lost.
As we start to see more and more of these damaging messages and ‘quick fixes’ to conventional beauty, it’s vitally important for us all to understand the dawn of a new year will not bring with it a new us – only an opportunity to refine our lifestyle and reset after a period of indulgence, and only if we choose to do so. If you don’t want to make a singular change, resolution or movement from your sofa that’s absolutely fine too; as long as you’re happy, confident and healthy that’s the only thing that matters. If we can’t separate the two or feel confident during the hardest period of the year, how can we expect our younger generation to do the same?
Many this be the year that young men and women find their inner confidence and learn to overcome their anxieties, no matter how big or small, and may we all follow in their example.
Wishing you a fabulous 2018 – because you’re blooming brilliant, inside and out.
Find out more about the Dove Self-Esteem Project via their website: dove.com/selfesteem
This is a sponsored feature on behalf of Dove; all opinions are my own. This is a really great cause and I’m proud to support it.
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