TW: Sensitive content. This post features real stories about body appearance that may be upsetting to some readers.
Dove has been known for years for it’s body-positive branding, including slogans such as “Changing the Face of Beauty” and spearheading efforts like the Self-Esteem Project. Their latest stunning PSA is another example of their commitment to making beauty standards more diverse and less harmful to the children who consume beauty content online. In this mega-viral 3-minute video, the Dove Self-Esteem Project shows the harm that long-term exposure to certain social media content can do to children consuming it every single day.
The ad starts out focusing on a cute little girl named Mary. We watch her grow as the song “You Are So Beautiful to Me” plays in the background. We see a silly, excited, creative young girl blossom into a tween before our eyes. Then, we see Mary receive her first smart phone.
Soon, Mary begins to change. As she grows up, she grows sad. Her smartphone has opened up the world of online beauty content and influencers to her, and we see her beginning to journal about how gross she is, her goal weight, and even joining Weight Watchers for teens. Mary berates herself for her eating habits, and continues to watch content by “perfect” influencers online. As we watch an influencer measure her legs to ensure she has a “thigh gap,” we see Mary take selfie after selfie as she struggles to achieve a certain look.
Finally, we see a thin, pained-looking Mary in the hospital. Her tiny arm has an IV, and she looks frail. Mary has entered treatment for the eating disorder she’s developed in pursuit of that perfect social media-ready body.