Posted: May 15, 2013 7:00 AM
 
Dove's global research shows that six in 10 girls stop doing what they love because they feel bad about their looks. Dove's response to these shocking statistics is a brand-new campaign: Girls Unstoppable. We spoke with news correspondent Lisa Ling to learn about Dove's campaign and her involvement with it.

"Help make all girls unstoppable" is Dove's new mission, project and tagline. And it's one that all mothers — and women in general — should get behind. Here's why: Dove's global research has found that a troubling six out of 10 girls quit the activities they love, avoid raising their hands in class and stop taking chances like running for student council or trying out for sports — all because they feel bad about their looks. Because of Dove's commitment to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety, the company has launched a new initiative, "Let’s Make Girls Unstoppable." The company's goal: reaching 15 million girls by 2015 with self-esteem programming.

Lisa Ling

Beautiful women

Powerhouse Lisa Ling has joined Dove's movement to shine a light on the girls who never stop doing what they love.

She says, "I've always been a huge fan of Dove's campaign because it's so incredibly empowering."

As women, we've all been kissed with uncertainty about our looks at one point or another. But as mothers, this feeling takes on a new meaning.

Lisa says, "This programming really touched a chord with me because I gave birth to a baby girl eight weeks ago. She should feel unstoppable. I want to instill that in her."

We need to shed a different light on beauty instead of focusing on the negative.

Lisa broached the trickiness — and the importance — of using the word "beautiful."

She says, "'Beautiful' is a touchy word. As new parents, my husband and I made the decision to validate our daughter's beauty at home, with us. Because of that, she might not need that validation elsewhere."

"Beautiful" is a loaded word, and as a society, we're quick to put down its use. But this is unnecessary and detrimental.

Lisa explains, "We need to shed a different light on beauty instead of focusing on the negative." We're in love with Lisa's call to "start celebrating campaigns that promote women instead of tearing them down."

Self-esteem programming

We can best help girls by acknowledging their struggles and giving them tools to believe in themselves and their gifts and skills.

Simply not using the word "beautiful" doesn't work.

Deborah Gilboa, MD, explains, "We can best help girls by acknowledging their struggles and giving them tools to believe in themselves and their gifts and skills. Girls need to know that other girls their age — many, many other girls — have these same worries and [the] same fears. Girls need to learn in groups that they can each control what matters to them."

That's where the Dove Self-Esteem Project, formerly known as the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem, comes in. It educates young people to feel confident about their appearance and builds their self-esteem.

Dove created self-esteem education tools and activities specifically designed for young girls and their moms, mentors and teachers. Available at Dove.com, the free download explores six important conversation themes: 

  • Family relationships and role models
  • The media and celebrity culture
  • Self-care and respect
  • Teasing and bullying
  • Competing and comparing looks
  • Body talk

Having these simple, accessible and smartly designed tools and conversation starters on hand will help women open the door to important conversations with the girls they love.

Rob Candelino, vice president of Unilever Skincare, says, "We're giving women the tools and resources they need to start a conversation with the girl in their life, one of the most important [conversations] women will ever have."

These direct conversations are important because our girls are constantly receiving media-created messages. We can use these tools to reclaim our role as the storytellers in our girls' lives.

Pauline Campos, founder of Girl Body Pride says, "Anything that focuses the conversation on fostering self-esteem and a positive body image is a big YES in my book. It's why I started Girl Body Pride. I'm a lifelong recovering bulimic because I didn't have the chance for this type of support like our daughters do, so I thank Dove for their work."

Picture this

Dove has carved out a space on its website where parents, teachers, coaches and mentors can upload photos of girls they love following their spark. By gathering examples of unstoppable girls coast-to-coast, Dove hopes to ignite conversations across the country and help inspire girls to build the confidence to keep doing what they love.

Lisa explains, "This is a cool part of the campaign. It'll be a place where girls can see other girls doing what they love. They can also see that they — and their passions — are being endorsed by this huge brand."

That's a powerful message that we want our girls to receive.

These photos, videos and stories can be shared on Dove.com, on Twitter using the hashtag #GirlsUnstoppable and on Facebook.

Lisa Ling

It starts with us

Dove's recent Real Beauty Sketches focused on how women see themselves and their own self-talk. Dove's Self-Esteem Project is about taking a newfound awareness and esteem directly and purposefully to our girls.

On May 3, Lisa Ling helped launch this year's campaign at Mom 2.0 with a keynote conversation with 500 influential attendees and in a breakout session with 50 very influenceable girls. Alongside Jess Weiner, the Dove Global Self-Esteem Ambassador, Lisa talked with the adults about beauty anxiety and self-esteem issues.

Girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful, and as mothers, aunts, teachers or coaches, we all have the opportunity to make a difference in a girl's self-esteem.

With the girls, she worked on a "Positivity Magazine" activity developed by Jess. The girls played editor of their own Dove Positivity Magazine. They used clipped-out words and phrases to decorate their magazine's cover — creating positive, uplifting magazines for unstoppable girls everywhere.

Lisa explains, "Girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful, and as mothers, aunts, teachers or coaches, we all have the opportunity to make a difference in a girl's self-esteem. I'm honored to partner with Dove to help build positive self-esteem in the next generation of girls. I'll always be grateful to the women in my life who inspired me to reach my full potential, and I hope to do the same for my daughter."

What girl will you build up today? Why not start right now? Celebrate the unstoppable girl in your life at Dove.com.

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