THURSDAY 28 MAR 2019 12:53 PM


In modern marketing, representation is an essential component of most progressive companies’ brands. Unfortunately, one industry still struggling to adapt is beauty, where techniques such as airbrushing and digital enhancement have enabled the persistence of a narrow, unattainable standard of attractiveness.

Dove has been a pioneer in eschewing unrealistic societal beauty expectations. For the company’s new project, ShowUs, Dove has collaborated with both Getty Images, one of the most trusted sources of visual content in the world, and Girlgaze, a fledgling creative agency connecting companies and brands with female-identifying and non-binary creatives. The campaign was inspired by recent research conducted by Dove, revealing 70% of women globally say they still don’t feel represented by the images they see every day. Dove’s partnership with Getty Images is especially appropriate, given the organisation has taken part in other recent initiatives, such as working to showcase cruelty-free vegan cosmetics, with a focus on revolutionising antiquated definitions of beauty.

ShowUs has been developed for over a year, and the current product consists of over 5,000 pictures of 179 women from 39 countries, as photographed by 116 female Girlgaze employees. Photographers were required to be knowledgeable about the countries where the shoots were occurring so local environments could be taken advantage of for their uniqueness. Furthermore, digital alteration of the photos was prohibited, so the women being captured are both realistic and unapologetic. Most importantly, in setting a ground-breaking precedent for Getty Images, the women depicted could decide on their own tags and search descriptions for their pictures. This was an empowering decision for Getty Images, because it firmly transfers the definition of beauty over from major corporations to women who have often felt ostracised and ignored.

ShowUs is the natural next step for Dove’s uncompromising effort to defy the damaging expectations set forth by other industry titans. Sophie Galvani, global vice president of Dove, says, “For over 60 years, we have believed in liberating women from narrow beauty ideals and have showcased beauty diversity in our advertising. However, this is not enough, and we cannot make the systemic change we need alone.”

With ShowUs, Dove not only underscores how real women everywhere are not alone, but also encourages real women to feel confident about their own distinct beauty by contributing photographs of themselves to the campaign.