A Global study revealed 70 per cent of women do not feel represented by everyday images, so Dove has taken action with Getty Images, Girlgaze and women globally to create Project #ShowUs.
Project #ShowUs is the world’s largest stock photo library with over 5,000 images, including six Australians, created by women and non-binary individuals to shatter beauty stereotypes.
The ambition is to put an end to the narrow definition of beauty consistently portrayed by encouraging the media and advertising industry around the world including Australia to set a new standard for representation of women, creating an inclusive visual landscape that truly reflects us as a nation.
Featuring women from 39 countries and counting, the six Australian women who were photographed by women and non-binary individuals were selected as they offer a more authentic and inclusive representation of beauty in this country that is not often captured.
This ground-breaking library of images is available for use by media and advertisers as Dove calls upon creative and media professionals to join them in redefining how women are represented in the images we see around us every single day.
Dove’s research study shows that 67 per cent of women are calling for brands to step up and start taking responsibility for the stock imagery they use.
On Getty Images, the search term “real people” has increased by 192 per cent over the past year, “diverse women” by 168 per cent, and “strong women” by 187 per cent, providing more evidence of the demand for a more realistic portrayal of women and beauty.
There is also a huge need for stock imagery to include women in more progressive and empowering roles and scenarios with “women leaders” up by 202 per cent.
Women wish media and advertisers did a better job of portraying women of physical diversity with two thirds (66 per cent) currently feeling there are limited body shapes and sizes and 64 per cent feeling characteristics such as scars, freckles and skin conditions are unrepresented.
The constant bombardment of beauty stereotypes is making 7 in 10 women feel pressured to reach an unrealistic standard of beauty, contributing to an appearance anxiety epidemic.
Women who feel worse about themselves as a result of seeing a narrow definition of beauty day in, day out is impacting their daily lives – from being assertive (30 per cent) to wearing the clothes they want (49 per cent) or expressing their true identity (37 per cent).
Dove head of media & PR, Anneliese Douglass said: “Dove understands the impact unrealistic images of beauty can have on a women’s body confidence and their subsequent ability to reach their full potential.
“For over 60 years, Dove has believed in liberating women from narrow beauty ideals, showcasing diversity in our advertising.
She added: “However, this is not enough and we cannot make the systemic change needed alone.
“Project #ShowUs aims to break beauty stereotypes and we invite media and advertisers to license the images and join us to take real tangible action, embracing the diverse beauty of Australia, liberating women from narrow beauty ideals.”
Australian WNBA basketball player Liz Cambage (pictured below) comments: “Despite Australia being extremely multicultural, I always knew I was different growing up, especially coming in at 2.03 meters tall (“6’8”), never seeing girls like myself in magazines.
“I am proud to be working with Dove to encourage the Australian advertising and media industry to shift towards a more inclusive and diverse visual representation of this country.”
Professor Phillippa Diedrichs, body image expert at the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England, said: “On a daily basis, women and girls face a relentless stream of media images displaying narrow, unrealistic, and outdated portrayals of beauty and what it means to be a woman.
“Several decades of scientific research shows that exposure to these images has a negative impact on women’s and girls’ body confidence and beliefs about what they are capable of.”
“On the other hand, displaying diverse and realistic portrayals of women’s bodies, like the images in Project #ShowUs, leads to improved body confidence.”
Australian Girlgaze photographer, Natalie McComas, said: “Australia has such a rich heritage and I was very proud to bring the stories of these diverse Australian women to life.
“Project #ShowUs is a game-changing initiative for artists to unleash their creativity and truthfully depict beauty.”
Getty Images senior creative research editor, Petra O’Halloran commented: “Getty Images globally champions realistic representation of all through imagery and are proud to be leading a change through this partnership.
“In the last year, we have seen a sharp rise in media and advertising searches for positive female terms in Australia, showing a shift towards a more realistic, inclusive representation of women, but there is still a long way to go.
“Project #ShowUs will break new ground and create a platform for authentic representation of women in Australia and around the world.”
At B&T, we believe that advertising like this can shape and influence culture. That’s one of the reasons we created Changing the Ratio, Australia’s diversity and inclusion conference for the advertising industry. Check out the 2019 schedule today.