Last Wednesday in London, an inspiring and uplifting announcement was made by one of the largest beauty brands in the world, Dove. Over the years, the company has been recognized for its Campaign for Real Beauty, and who can forget the iconic 2006 “Evolution” video that went viral. It shows how makeup and digital alterations can make an average woman look like a supermodel. Continuing to promote the message of real beauty, Dove has spearheaded an exciting new initiative called #ShowUs. The idea is to rethink how stock photography is made. Sounds simple, and yet, it’s 2019 (more than 10 years since the Evolution video!) and realistic and diverse representation is still lacking.
Dove’s research has uncovered that this constant exposure to unrealistic images and a lack of representation is having a noticeable impact on the self-esteem of women and girls. That translates to 70 percent of women not feeling represented by the images they see every day, 54 percent of girls not liking their appearance and 37 percent of women not expressing their true identity.
For years, Dove and the brand’s parent company, Unilever, has focused its marketing around the idea of expanding the definitions of “real beauty,” but now they attempt to extend that initiative to the rest of the industry. “Seven in 10 women feel pressured to reach an unrealistic standard of beauty,” says Sophie Galvani, Dove’s global vice-president. “This is a massive issue and we need to break these narrow stereotypes and increase the confidence of women around the world.” To help tackle this mammoth task, Dove partnered with Getty Images and Girlgaze, a female-led creative agency, to build the world’s largest stock photo library created by women and non-binary individuals.
#ShowUs houses more than 5,000 stock-images, created by 116 Girlgaze photographers, that are designed to shatter beauty stereotypes on a global scale. At the press conference, Galvani said this project was a labour of love for her team, along with her partners. “You can’t be what you can’t see, yet despite this and decades of work by Dove, Getty Images and Girlgaze to liberate women from limiting stereotypes, many images continue to impose unrealistic beauty standards that present a narrow view of who women are, what they should look like and what they can achieve,” she says. It took the teams close to two years to build the #ShowUs gallery, with photo shoots in 39 countries. Thanks to these local photographers who understand the beauty landscape and how it differs in each country, the images are more authentic and inclusive representation of beauty.
View this post on Instagram
Capturing how women see the world, and their place in it, @girlgaze are a diverse, global community of women, non-binary and female-identifying photographers 📸 Just like us, they believe in visibility, equality and inclusion in front of and behind the lens 🙌 Join us, Girlgaze and @gettyimages to create Project #ShowUs, as we empower women and unstereotype beauty ideals, one photo at a time. Comment below to tell us who you want to see 👇 📸: @isabelladiasx 🇧🇷@shihofukada 🇯🇵@ninarobinsonnyc 🇺🇸 @yagazieemezi 🇳🇬@bhumikab 🇮🇳@margoovcharenko 🇷🇺@solbela_ 🇪🇸@hindbouqartcha 🇲🇦 #Dove #ShowUs #RealBeauty #Beauty #Beautiful #Diversity #Inclusivity #girlgaze #GettyImages #StockPhotos #Photographer #Photographers
None of the images in the #ShowUs library have been altered in any way; this means no Photoshop and no filters. The subjects are a beautiful representation of women identified from around the world and feature many different ethnicities, ages, sizes, mobile impairments, skin conditions and so much more. “For the first time on Getty Images, every individual that our photographers have shot has personally defined their own search descriptions and tags for their images, allowing them to define their beauty in their own language, on their own terms, ensuring they feel realistically represented,” says Dr. Rebecca Swift, senior director of creative insights at Getty Images.
Galvani wants this library to be a call to action. “This is for the world to use. This is for all media and advertisers. If we’re going to change things we have to go to the source.” The day after the #ShowUs press conference Dove bought an ad in The New York Times in the form of a letter encouraging those in the marketing industry to use the image hub. so they can represent the true diversity of women in media and advertising.
Head to gettyimages.com/showus to visit the image library.