Dove employs selfies to raise women’s self confidence

Dove continues to challenge stereotypes about beauty imperfections in the documentary film, Selfie. It depicts school girls and their mothers, who are taking a new, brighter look on their most hated body attributes through selfies, self-portrait photographs taken with the phone camera for social-media use.

The reason to employ the “selfie” approach is explained by the statistics, revealing that 63% of women think that social media influence beauty standards more than print media, cinematography or music today. The experiment also builds on the sad notion that mothers pass on insecurities about their body and face intrinsic beauty to their daughters. In the 8-minute film girls and their moms took selfies to look at themselves from the outside—whether they were smiling or not, at home or outside, in front of the mirror or in a lawn.

The portraits were then exhibited, and people visiting the pop-up gallery could attach colorful post-its with compliments to the portraits. Each of the pictures got a number of bright squares that put the best features of the girls and women—lovely hair, beautiful teeth, strong arms—into the spotlight. After the exhibition, the girls shared how the positive feedback from the visitors influenced their self-esteem.

“I don’t look like the people in the magazines, I’m not blond, or super tall or super skinny, but it doesn’t mean I’m not beautiful,” says one of the young participants. “I realized that I am beautiful, I’m really cute,” the other girl adds.

The short was screened at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on Monday, January 20. The brand encourages the audience to join in the conversation using the #BeautyIs hashtag and visit a dedicated site to get inspired by women selfies and wise words. The “Selfie” documentary comes on the heels of Dove’s award-winning “Beauty Sketches” experiment that demonstrates the gap between how women perceive themselves and how they are seen by others.

“The way women are defining beauty today is changing dramatically, and social media has much to do with the change,” commented documentary director Cynthia Wade. “Now, we have the ability to photograph the beauty we see in our friends and ourselves. When we share these diverse images on our social networks, we are taking personal ownership and truly redefining beauty.”