THE BLOG

That's What Makes You Beautiful

02/10/2014 15:20 BST | Updated 02/12/2014 10:59 GMT

A short one this week and more of a heads-up to look out for my new favourite, ad. From the clearly very lovely, people at Dove.

Their latest campaign asks us 'What's your beauty legacy?' Having already reached out to 14 million girls to give much needed and appreciated confidence boosts, Dove are now setting out to target those people (us) who influence and inspire/de-spire these girls.

Dove's research has revealed that every girl has three main female role models as she grows up who hugely affect how she feels about her beauty. As both confidence and self-doubt can be passed on to the next generation, Dove are reminding us to become positive role models, if not for our own sake, for the generation of girls who are currently growing up.

"But I don't have a daughter so this surely doesn't apply to me?" These were my thoughts on first catching a glimpse of the ad, but I've since discovered that it's not quite as transparent as that. The 'real' beauty advocates asked 900 girls aged seven to seventeen, across six countries, to rank the women they consider their beauty guides. The list looked something like this: mother, step-mother, guardians, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, extended family, teachers, friends, world leaders, writers, authors and artists, actresses, musicians, models, business leaders, religious leaders, community activists, counsellors, characters in books and movies. It's potentially impossible, as a woman, to not fit into one of those categories. So the chances are, (even when not a Mum) you are playing an influential role when it comes to defining beauty, either positively or negatively, for somebody else's daughter.

You just need to take a look at the advert to see that all girls' need is a positive role model to develop a confident and self-assured relationship with the way they look, shaking off any body insecurities. The short film shows daughters virtually echo their mothers' insecurities and body hang ups when asked to talk about their own bodies, (the girls in this ad must all be between 6-12 by the way) yet when their Mum's have commented on a positive aspect of their body, the girls also reflect this in their own self-appraisal. Dove says, "The way girls feel about their beauty starts with how we (women) feel about ours." Essentially, when mothers and role models recognise their beauty and express it with confidence, their girls are learning to do the same with their own looks and bodies."

Something that really struck me after watching the latest offering from Dove was just how early on these body issues develop for girls. As an ex-Secondary teacher, I'd like to think I'm relatively clued up on the girls' body image debate, but of course, from my perspective this was something that I considered to raise its ugly head with girls as they approached their teens. Needless to say I was stunned to see primary school aged girls point out they're not too keen on their wonky eyes, thighs, and arms. Surely these thoughts shouldn't quite be on their radar yet? I guess a silver lining of girls caring about this stuff from such an early age is that, if handled correctly and they 'inherit' positive attitudes to their bodies, they're well set up to ride those turbulent self-conscious waves of teen years.

Dove's UK brand director, Lucy Attley says, "Whether she is a mother, aunt, coach, teacher, or sister, every woman has the opportunity to make a difference to a girl's self-esteem. By ensuring their own beauty legacy is positive, all women can help the next generation of girls grow up to be happy and content, free from the pressure of beauty stereotypes and the burden of self doubt."

Oh I do love a good, soppy Dove advert. And this one packs a powerful punch for sure. (And thanks, 1D for my title this week.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRQf1s8-uDk