#ShowUs that your brand cares

#ShowUs that your brand cares

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This week, beauty giant Dove announced that it was partnering with Getty Images and creative agency Girlgaze to create #ShowUs, a stock image library of over 5,000 un-airbrushed photos of women and non-binary individuals, in a bid to shatter beauty stereotypes and put an end to the very narrow ideals of beauty that are consistently pushed by the media.

Now, I love a good stock image, and by that, I mean a terrible, awkwardly-posed stock image that has no conceivable purpose. However, a global study revealed that 70 per cent of women don’t feel as if they are represented by the images that they see. Combined with Getty Image’s findings, which revealed that image searches for ‘real’ people have seen a stratospheric rise over the past year – ‘diverse women’ and ‘strong women’ saw a 168 per cent and 187 per cent increase, respectively – there’s a clear need for better representation in the media.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve scrolled through Instagram and come away from it feeling exponentially worse about myself. Logically, I know that most influencers spend hours on their hair, makeup and photo editing to take their ‘effortless’ pictures, but does that make me feel any better? Er, no. And it’s the same for most women – by seeing such a narrow definition of beauty pushed on us 24/7, on TV, in magazines, in films, we compare ourselves unfavourably. In fact, seven in ten women feel pressured to conform to unrealistic beauty standards.

Of course, Dove has a history of centring its marketing around celebrating ‘real’ beauty, albeit to varying degrees of success. However, this time around it’s trying to roll out the initiative to the industry as a whole, as brands can license the images to use for their marketing and advertising, just as they would any other stock images.

Dove is one of many brands to align themselves with social causes lately. In the US, deodorant brand Secret launched a campaign to draw focus on wage inequality, whilst Always joined the fight to tackle period poverty with their #EndPeriodPoverty campaign. Although businesses don’t need to align with a social cause to thrive, it’s a way to engage with consumers whilst also making a difference.

When it comes to the #ShowUs campaign, it may only be a small change for a brand to make, but it’s part of a wider movement to bridge the gap between how women are represented and how advertisers portray women. It’s a small step, but it’s a start.

Photo credit to Dove