Our generation has an unprecedented ability to communicate with each other no matter where we live. As a woman in her early twenties, I have seen and felt first hand the effects of sexualization and skinny-ization by mass media and social networks. I have felt the anxiety of teenage body issues, despite being an active athlete who was in shape. I have seen the struggle of my friends dealing with their constant body issues. Growing up in the media and advertisement driven environment has been a first time experiment being conducted all around the world. Ad critic Jean Kilbourne estimates that the average American encounters 3,000 advertisements a day. She also estimates that 50% of THREE to SIX year olds have issues with their weight. When children’s only concern is supposed to be when they can go outside to play with their friends and when they can take a nap, they are instead concerned with how they look. Not only are women sexualized for almost every single product out there, including food and school supplies, women are then told to hide their bodies. There are so many different messages that our society feeds young girls and women.
The Dove Brand has started a campaign (2004) targeted at increasing body acceptance. The brand has released ads both print and commercial, to promote healthy real bodies. Its goals are to start a conversation about the need “for a wider definition of beauty” and by using women of all shapes and sizes in their ads. A study done by The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report found that only 2% of women considered themselves as beautiful. In 2011, seven years after the original study, women now consider themselves beautiful. A small increase, but it was still an increase. I think that more campaigns like the one done by Dove need to be started. Body confidence translates into self-confidence, and causes less anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. I love being able to look at a billboard and being able to relate to the women for once.