Dove Launches New Self-Esteem Campaign
As you've surely noticed if you've seen any of Dove's campaigns—including the videos made for its recent Real Beauty Sketches initiative—the company is all about confidence-building. In fact, it conducts regular research related to self-esteem and recently announced that they've found six in 10 girls say they stop doing things they enjoy because they feel insecure about their appearance. To celebrate girls who don't equate their looks with self-worth—and encourage more to follow suit—last week Dove launched a new campaign called Let's Make Girls Unstoppable, which encourages women to share photos, videos, and stories of girls in their lives enjoying favorite activities. They can post them on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #GirlsUnstoppable.
Acclaimed writer and journalist Lisa Ling spoke about the initiative at the fifth annual Mom 2.0 Summit on May 3. "It's been a great exercise for me, as someone who's going to be 40 this year, just thinking about the things that shaped who I am and the kinds of images I was exposed to and thinking about how different things could have been if I had been exposed to this really empowering campaign when I was a little girl," she says.
While the sad six in 10 statistic is based off of research involving girls under the age of 18, body confidence issues don't just stop when you legally become an adult.
"The notion of being unstoppable for me is a phenomenal thing to instill in girls, but also in women," says Ling. "I think as women we all set limitations on ourselves, and I would love to see collectively women also sort of retain that sensibilty and start to believe whatever mistakes they've made or failures they've had in their lives, nothing shouldn't stop them from persevering and moving forward—especially not their looks."
Make sure self-shaming never gets in the way of your approaching a Ryan Gosling-lookalike at the coffee shop—or asking your boss for a promotion that involves lots of public speaking—by following these confidence-boosting tips from Jess Weiner, Dove's global self-esteem ambassador:
Be choosy about your relationships
When you surround yourself with people who truly care about and support you, their feelings about how awesome you are will inevitably rub off on you. So if you're constantly beating yourself up, you may want to double-check for toxic influences in your life. "Take a moment to step back and look at your key relationships," says Weiner. "You should feel surrounded by loving, accepting people who clearly value you."
Don't humor that judge-y voice in your head
Even if you can't totally silence your inner critic, you can make a conscious decision to not repeat those negative thoughts out loud, which will help disempower it. "That way you won’t pass that toxic language around to your office-maters, to your girlfriends, to your extended family," says Weiner. If calling yourself fat or ugly has become such a deeply ingrained habit that you don't even realize right away when you're doing it, Weiner suggests getting a group of girlfriends together to start a compliment jar: When you catch yourself or others self-bashing, the guilty party has to put a dollar in the jar. Once you've built up a decent amount of money, you can use it to go out to dinner or drinks together—or better yet, donate it to a nonprofit dedicated to building confidence in young girls.
When insecurities tell you to hold back, do the opposite
"I’m a firm believer in taking contrary action," says Weiner. Translation: If you're thinking about staying home during a networking event you really-kinda want to attend because you're worried about wearing the right clothes or not being able to cover up a giant zit on your forehead, it's absolutely crucial to make yourself go. "When you do that, that inner critic starts to withdraw a little bit because you’re taking action over your thoughts," says Weiner. If jumping in all at once feels impossible, you can build up your confidence in ways that aren't related to your looks—by practicing your networking skills with a friend, for example—so you're that much more prepared the next time opportunity strikes. "The key is you take action," says Weiner. "You’re not sitting there stuck in the whirlwind of your negative thoughts."
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