Having you heard of “digital distortion?” During Dove’s first virtual Global Summit, the brand’s Self-Esteem Project announced its partnership with singer-songwriter and body positivity activist Lizzo in order to tackle the widespread phenomenon that’s negatively impacting the confidence of many young women today.
While adults partake in the practice too, digital distortion can be described as using things like filters and photoshop tools on social media platforms and/or apps to blur “imperfections” and enhance certain features to become “acceptable” by the moment’s trendiest beauty standards. As you can imagine, digital distortion becomes a problem when young girls form a dependance on the usage of those technological tools to feel good about themselves, the content they share with others online, and the feedback they received on those posts.
While some might dismiss the issue as something shallow, trivial, and/or a problem that doesn’t affect the lives of many young women, Dove’s 2020 research for the brand’s Self-Esteem Project found that “80% of girls have already applied a filter or used an app to change the way they look in their photos by the time they are 13” — and additionally that “77% of girls try to change or hide at least one body part/feature before posting a photo of themselves on social media.” As per the brand’s data, the problem insidiously eats away at self-esteem, with reports noting that almost half (48%) of young women who digitally distort their photos are more likely to have low body self-esteem in comparison to their peers who don’t.
Being known for her radical self-acceptance, Lizzo shared during the Dove Global Summit yesterday that even though she isn’t a young girl in this era of such widespread and commonly used digital distortion, she can relate to the experience of being in her early teens and feeling insecure about her appearance.
“The scary thing about it is,” she said during the Summit, “when I was their age — the girls now who are like 12, 13 — I felt the same way. I remember waking up and wanting to be someone else, change my body, changed my eye color, my hair texture, the shape of my body, the color of my skin. But I didn’t have photo retouching, I didn’t have filters or anything like that. So that feeling was already there, and it scares me to think that now there is a tool that actually cashes in on that insecurity.”
Coming into her own and continuously growing along her self-love and acceptance journey, the “Truth Hurts” singer also noted that realistically, she feels that there’s no other alternative but for her to love the body that she’s in. She told listeners, “It was no choice for me. It was literal survival. I was like, ‘If I’m going to continue to live in this body and survive in this body and be happy and actually enjoy life, I need to find a way to like myself.’”
When all information is boiled down, Lizzo’s partnership with Dove’s Self-Esteem Project aims to help young girls learn to be confident in who they are regardless of whether they choose to use filters and photoshop to switch up the way they look. It emphasizes the important value self-validation from an early age can have on a young woman’s life as opposed to them being looped into a harmful and endless trap of seeking validation from others online.
What’s great about the launch is that it gets parents (and teachers) involved too. Inspiring adults to have The Selfie Talk with young ones in order to “build confidence and positive body image on social media,” the brand’s new Confidence Tool Kit can be used to help give a starting point to those who might not know how to facilitate the important conversation.
To read more about Dove’s Self-Esteem Project and its mission to build self-confidence in 250 million young people by 2030, click here.