Dove fights beauty standards with a prompting handbook

Jul 9, 2024 | News

Dove, the American personal care brand, has pledged never to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to portray women in its advertisements. This promise marks the 20th anniversary of Dove’s renowned “Campaign for Real Beauty” launched in 2004, which reshaped the beauty industry by highlighting women of various ages, shapes, and backgrounds, moving away from the exclusive use of professional models. For two decades, Dove has passionately promoted the cause of real beauty through impactful media campaigns, the Dove Self-Esteem Project, and comprehensive research.


The Beginning of a Movement: The Real Truth About Beauty

Dove’s journey began with a pioneering study titled “The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report” published in 2004 by Edelman and Dove affiliates. Led by Dr. Nancy Etcoff of Harvard University and Dr. Susie Orbach, this research revealed a startling statistic: only 2% of women worldwide considered themselves beautiful. This discovery sparked a global movement dedicated to enhancing the self-esteem of women and girls, a mission that Dove has fervently championed ever since.


Evolving Beauty Ideals: Insights from Recent Research

To commemorate its 20-year milestone, Dove conducted a new global study, “The Real State of Beauty: A Global Report“, to evaluate contemporary beauty standards. The findings indicate that while beauty ideals have become more inclusive regarding gender, race, and size, new pressures have emerged. Key standards include “looking healthy” (81%),  “being slim” (72%), “having a small waist” (69%), and “being curvy” (59%). Furthermore, two-thirds of respondents believe that today’s women face greater expectations to be physically attractive compared to previous generations. A staggering 85% of women and girls reported encountering harmful beauty content online.

The Impact of AI on Beauty Standards

A significant focus of Dove’s recent report is the influence of technology, particularly AI, on beauty perceptions. By 2025, it is predicted that 90% of online content will be AI-generated. This is concerning, as one in three women feels pressured to alter their appearance based on AI-generated images, despite knowing their artificial origin. Although some find AI’s ability to create varied self-images empowering, the report highlights the urgent need for more authentic representation in AI-created content.


The Push for Transparency: AI Influencers Under Scrutiny

Earlier this year, NBC News spotlighted an online petition, supported by over 12,000 parents, demanding that TikTok label AI-generated influencers to distinguish them from real people. This petition reflects growing anxiety over AI’s role in promoting unrealistic beauty standards and contributing to body dysmorphia among young users. The petition has since garnered more than 40,000 signatures, emphasizing widespread public concern.


A Vision for the Future: Dove’s Real Beauty Prompt Guidelines

Dove’s Chief Marketing Officer, Alessandro Manfredi, underscores the brand’s commitment to redefining beauty standards. “At Dove, we seek a future in which women get to decide and declare what real beauty looks like, not algorithms,” Manfredi asserts. To further this goal, Dove is developing the “Real Beauty Prompt Guidelines,” a comprehensive guide for generating authentic images of women and girls using AI technology. Manfredi adds, “We will not stop until beauty is a source of happiness, not anxiety, for every woman and girl”.


Celebrating Real Beauty

Dove’s unwavering commitment to real beauty continues to challenge and transform societal standards. By refusing to use AI-generated representations of women, Dove reinforces its dedication to promoting authentic beauty and fostering self-esteem among women and girls worldwide. As the brand looks to the future, its mission remains clear: to ensure that beauty becomes a source of joy and confidence for everyone.


The images used in this article are sourced from Dove’s Real Beauty Prompt Playbook



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