We’ve long been suckers for Dove’s ad campaigns, from their first Evolution video to their tear-jerking Real Beauty Sketches. And it’s for good reason—Dove has a knack for tapping into universal self-esteem issues, and judging by how quickly they go viral, we’re not the only ones who think so.
So brace your browser: they’ve just released their new campaign, Camera Shy, and it’s the most relatable of the bunch. Focusing on how women are “missing out on some of life’s most memorable moments because they are not happy with the way they look,” we recognized more than a few familiar behaviors while watching the video. Avoiding the camera, laughing it off or (ironically not pictured) removing photos of ourselves from Facebook. Been there, done that.
This time, less happily, we’re again not alone–Dove’s global research found that 77 percent of women are camera shy, “citing that they often feel self-conscious or uncomfortable having their photo taken because they do not feel they are beautiful,” according to the brand. “We know that women are very self-critical when it comes to their looks and that this can have an impact on self-esteem, confidence and happiness,” said Jennifer Bremner, Director of Unilever Skincare, Dove’s manufacturer. “This study shows that women, who are their own worst beauty critic, have anxiety that stops them from feeling confident in front of the camera and causes them to miss out on capturing important moments in their lives. We want that to change.”
The stats back it up: 57 percent of the studied women said that “worrying how they will look is likely to have a negative impact on how they feel in front of the camera,” and 46 percent have “de-tagged, deleted or removed a photo of themselves.” To which we say, too real. We’re no strangers to that sinking feeling when we see someone’s tagged us in an event’s photos, and Facebook’s perpetually open on our phones for de-tagging ease. And while there’s usually comfort in numbers, these ones are particularly unsettling: Dove’s statistics state that “being tagged in a photo on a social network causes more than half of women to feel more anxious about the way they look,” and one out of three women have “stopped photos being taken or later destroyed photos of a beach holiday, a significant party with friends/family and even their own graduations.”
Admittedly, a video’s not going to cure the world’s self-esteem obstacles. But Dove’s point is clear, and important—nobody’s perfect all the time, and though it’s easy to just hit “Hide from Timeline,” it’s not the answer. Attempting to create a flawless image of ourselves by avoiding documentation may make us feel better in the short run, but in the long run, what will we have to show for it? Nothing at all.