Dove Self-Esteem Project unveils Cost of Beauty, a new film on how toxic social media content hurts mental health; project finds 80% of youth say people their age are addicted to social media, 76% say social media can make them want to change their looks

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ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, New Jersey , April 27, 2023 (press release) –

The new film features real stories from young people whose mental health has been impacted by social media as part of the Dove Campaign for Kids' Online Safety , and has been viewed more than 19 million times, generating 65K+ petition signatures in support of the 2023 KOSA bill

The Dove Self-Esteem Project has released Cost of Beauty – a powerful new film illustrating the impact toxic beauty content on social media can have on youth mental health. The film – which has now been viewed more than 19 million times – was inspired by real stories of young people and NEW research from the Dove Self-Esteem Project , which shows1:

  • 80% of young people believe that people their age are addicted to social media
  • Approximately 76% of young people in the U.S. say social media can make them want to change their appearance
  • 7 in 10 young people (ages 10-17) have been exposed to content encouraging weight loss/body transformation on social media.

Cost of Beauty was created using real footage and photos from the film's lead voice, Mary, and tells the story of Mary's journey battling an eating disorder, fuelled by the content she was exposed to on social media after receiving a phone for her birthday. Unfortunately, Mary's story is not uncommon, and while she is currently in recovery, the harmful content she was exposed to remains, and is being served to young people every day, impacting their mental health and eroding their self-esteem.

"As a teen in recovery from an eating disorder, sharing my experience has been very important to me to help others and show the true impact harmful content on social media can have on our mental health," shares Mary, Content Creator & Lead Voice in Cost of Beauty film. "I am proud to have worked with the Dove Self-Esteem Project to share my story and hopefully drive conversations and inspired tangible change to make social media safer, as it should be a safe space for everyone. My hope is that social media can become a safe space for kids and teens to express themselves creatively and positively."

The film features additional young people who have suffered from mental health issues sparked by social media – like anxiety, depression and body dysmorphia – and are now in recovery, to illustrate the scale of the issue and drive urgent action to protect the next generation. The young people who bravely shared their stories include:

  • Neko, in recovery from depression
  • Alexis, in recovery from self-harm
  • Julia, in recovery from anxiety and an eating disorder
  • Sarah, in recovery from an eating disorder
  • Cami, in recovery from an eating disorder
  • Chioma, in recovery from an eating disorder
  • Mia, in recovery from body dysmorphia and an eating disorder

To-date, the film has been viewed more than 19 million times across TikTok , Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn, and has been shared more than 20 thousand times on LinkedIn alone.

Since 2004, Dove has been building body confidence and self-esteem in young people through the Dove Self-Esteem Project , and to-date, has educated more than 94 million youth globally. In 2023, the Dove Self-Esteem Project is evolving its mission to help make social media a more positive place by standing for safer social media design with the Campaign for Kids' Online Safety .

"Dove has a long-term commitment to bringing positive change in beauty and taking action towards making social media a more positive place with campaigns like #NoDigitalDistortion, Reverse Selfie/Selfie Talk, and #DetoxYourFeed. While certain aspects of social media can promote creativity and connection for young people, data has shown toxic content online is harming the mental health of today's youth. If there isn't real change, young people will continue to pay with their wellbeing." explains Alessandro Manfredi , Chief Marketing Officer for Dove. "We have a responsibility to act and support a safer environment on social media, helping protect young people's mental health. This means going beyond individual interventions to drive systemic change."

Along with its non-profit partners, Common Sense Media and ParentsTogether Action, the Dove Self-Esteem Project is taking a stand against the harmful impact of social media. Together, Dove is supporting updated design standards, safeguards and tools that protect kids' overall experiences online, and would limit their exposure to toxic beauty content proven to erode their self-esteem via support of the forthcoming 2023 revision of the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA).

More than half (58%) of parents believe the only way to get social media platforms to change is to implement legislation in the space. On Tuesday, April 11 , Dove and partners launched a petition to advance KOSA, which has amassed over 60,000 signatures in two weeks; demonstrating how much the public wants to see progress on this issue.

Without real change to social media platforms, kids will continue to pay the price with their wellbeing. View the Cost of Beauty film and sign the petition to make social media safer for kids at Dove.com/kidsonlinesafety #KidsOnlineSafety #LetsChangeBeauty

New Dove Research
Online survey conducted by Edelman DXI, a global, multidisciplinary research, analytics, and data consultancy, in the USA , UK and Canada between January – February 2023 with 1,318 girls, 556 boys, 1,520 parents, 4,046 of the general population and 154 youth mental health specialists (total sample size of 7,594 respondents).

About Dove
Dove started its life in 1957 in the US, with the launch of the Beauty Bar, with its patented blend of mild cleansers and ¼ moisturizing cream. Dove's heritage is based on moisturization, and it is proof not promises that enabled Dove to grow from a Beauty Bar into one of the world's most beloved beauty brands. Women have always been our inspiration and since the beginning, we have been wholly committed to providing superior care to all women and to championing real beauty in our advertising. Dove believes that beauty is for everyone. That beauty should be a source of confidence and not anxiety. Dove's mission is to inspire women everywhere to develop a positive relationship with the way they look and realize their personal potential for beauty.

For 60 years, Dove has been committed to broadening the narrow definition of beauty in the work they do. With the 'Dove Real Beauty Pledge,' Dove vows to:

  • Portray women with honesty, diversity and respect. We feature women of different ages, sizes, ethnicities, hair color, type, and style.
  • Portray women as they are in real life, with zero digital distortion and all images approved by the women they feature.
  • Help young people build body confidence and self-esteem through the Dove Self-Esteem Project , the biggest provider of self-esteem education in the world.

About Unilever
Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 2.5 billion people every day. We have 149,000 employees and generated sales of €50.7 billion in 2020. Over half of our footprint is in developing and emerging markets. We have around 400 brands found in homes all over the world – including iconic global brands like Dove, Lifebuoy, Knorr, Magnum, OMO and Surf; and other brands such as Love Beauty & Planet, Hourglass, Seventh Generation and The Vegetarian Butcher.

Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable business and to demonstrate how our purpose-led, future-fit business model drives superior performance. We have a long tradition of being a progressive, responsible business. It goes back to the days of our founder William Lever , who launched the world's first purposeful brand, Sunlight Soap, more than 100 years ago, and it is at the heart of how we run our company today.

The Unilever Compass, our sustainable business strategy, is set out to help us deliver superior performance and drive sustainable and responsible growth, while:

  • Improving the health of the planet
  • Improving people's health, confidence, and wellbeing; and
  • Contributing to a fairer and more socially inclusive world.

While there is still more to do, we are proud to have been recognized in 2020 as a sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and - for the tenth-consecutive year - as the top ranked company in the 2020 GlobeScan /SustainAbility Sustainability Leaders survey.

For more information about Unilever and our brands, please visit www.unilever.com.

Contact
Sherria Cotton | Sherria.Cotton@Edelman.com

1 NEW 2023 Dove Self-Esteem Research

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SOURCE Dove Self-Esteem Project

 

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