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Do you feel passionate about the self-esteem of your child? If so, please share your thoughts with the Dove Self-Esteem Project (DSEP) – and you could win a £200 voucher - NOW CLOSED

(149 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 30-May-13 15:41:08

The folks at Dove would love to hear your thoughts on their new Self-Esteem Project and the launch of their new online space packed full of resources, specifically designed to help parents build their girls' body confidence and self-esteem.

The new website is here:

Dove say, "Do you notice your daughter comparing her looks to others? While this is a normal part of adolescence, it can also be a slippery road for her self-confidence."

"Our ambition is for beauty to be a source of confidence, not anxiety. The DSEP was founded in 2004 to ensure the next generation of women grows up to be happy and content, free from misconstrued beauty stereotypes and the burden of self-doubt."

"Dove's aim is to improve the self-esteem of over 15 million young people by 2015. It is well on the way, having reached more than 11 million so far, but there are lots more girls to reach. And with more than half (54%) of girls citing their mothers as their primary role model*, Mumsnet is working with the DSEP to give mums the information they need to help raise their children's body confidence".

"In addition, Dove has also been doing a lot of work directly with schools - the DSEP made a donation of £250,000 to Beat (Beating Eating Disorders) to deliver free self-esteem workshops for 11-14 year old school children. Already, 152,175 lives have been reached and Dove wants to reach thousands more this year, so get your school to book a free workshop now by visiting".

School student, 14 year old Emily, shares her views on the workshops: "My view of beauty has changed massively - I now realise that nobody's perfect and everyone has flaws"

So have a look and let Dove - on this thread - know what you think. They are finalising the website now and want to use your feedback to help make it better. Please note your comments may be used to help shape future edits of the site and the programme.

Please state the age of your DD(s) when you respond.

~ What's your general feedback - is it user friendly? Is it helpful? What is good about the site, what's appealing to you/ your DD? Is it something you think you'd use? If so, how? If not why not? What's missing? What self-esteem issue do you think is not covered so well?

~ On the activities which are on this site, including (but not limited to) My Mosaic and Retouch Roulette - what are your favourite/ least favourite activities - and why? All activities can be viewed on the website.

~ Generally talking about self-esteem and girls - how - if at all - has this affected your DD? How do you and your family deal with it? What age did any issues start? Do you think the website would help your DD?

~ Parents of boys: whilst the DSEP focuses primarily on girls, it understands that boys are also affected by self-esteem issues. The DSEP will be working on dedicated materials for boys so Dove would love to hear your thoughts on how boys are affected by self-esteem or body image issues.

All comments welcome.

Add your feedback on this thread and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £200 voucher to spend at


* Source: Real Truth About Beauty Revisited - Dove Global Study 2010
Please note your comments on this thread may be used by Dove elsewhere.

starkadder Fri 07-Jun-13 23:48:54

Not good enough, Dove.

As another poster says - skin lightening products being akin to self tanning products - maybe (although, actually, no - it's not the same at all - how could it be, in the world we live in?) but the POINT, Dove, is that you sell and market products that encourage people to try to change what they naturally look like. You want us to be dissatisfied with our natural skin tone and to buy stuff off you to change it. What kind of message is that? And actually, does Dove sell self-tan? Or are you more interested in us all being white, like the majority of people on your website?

And why, in your response below, do you say you've heard the message about self esteem being important for boys too, but then continue to refer only to girls and women in the rest of your reply?

Don't even get me started on the Facebook stuff.

You aren't listening and you're making a pretty poor pretence of giving a shit, frankly.


starkadder Fri 07-Jun-13 23:53:11

Oh, my apologies - Dove does sell self tan. Just googled it. "Beautiful glow, disgusting stench", apparently. Nice.

AnnieLobeseder Sat 08-Jun-13 00:40:16

I found a blog from Canada worth a read. Does ?Dove Real Truth About Beauty? Think Women Are Real Stupid?

I didn't realise Unilever are also responsible for Slim Fast - selling women nothing but sugar in a bottle so they can try to make themselves meet society's beauty standards. Being overweight isn't healthy, but Slim Fast is hardly a healthy solution to the problem either.

AnnieLobeseder Sat 08-Jun-13 00:59:48

To be fair to Unilever and Dove, doing some deeper research into skin-lightening creams has revealed that all the big cosmetics companies market them in Asia, including Garnier and Nivea. That's just (sadly) what the consumer demands over there. And telling women there that they shouldn't use it is, I suppose, "whitesplaining".

And I was pleased to find that it's not a bleach as such, just a compound which temporarily inhibits melanin (skin pigmentation) production. Some compounds which do this have been shown to be very harmful but I'm going to give Unilever the benefit of the doubt and assume that, as they are the market leader in skin lightening products, they do their research and their own formulation is as safe as possible.

This still does't change the message given by Unilever and all the other cosmetics companies that we aren't good enough the way we are and if we buy their products we will be less repulsive.

I think what rankles most here is that while most other cosmetics companies don't try to hide what they do, Dove is trying to pretend that it actually wants us to feel better about ourselves. Of course they don't! Confident women don't spend nearly as much money on beauty products! It's the damned hypocrisy that's so galling.

starkadder Sat 08-Jun-13 21:03:14

Exactly! It's the hypocrisy. Normally I wouldn't bat an eyelid at big firms selling dubious products, but to sell this kind of stuff and THEN to come on Mumsnet flogging your bullshit two-faced "self esteem" website...that deserves contempt, really.

cather Mon 10-Jun-13 12:17:59

My son is 11 and whilst he doesn't suffer from any self esteem problems yet I think boys do suffer just as much as girls. My husband had acne as a teenager and was bullied for it and I hope the same doesn't happen to our son.

swallowedAfly Mon 10-Jun-13 15:15:58

i haven't read all the recent comments but i cannot believe they trotted out the word 'insulting' AGAIN even after comments on their use of it last time.

are they thick? i mean seriously because to use that word a second time when supposedly trying to placate your critics is beyond stupid.

swallowedAfly Mon 10-Jun-13 15:17:51

mind you to say that skin bleach is equivalent to fake tan should be evidence enough of IQ levels. it is desperately sad when a company's pr and marketing department are not only a bit thick seeming but seemingly too thick to realise that other people are not as thick as them.

littlemonkeychops Mon 10-Jun-13 20:19:08

DD1 is only 2 but i already think about these issues. I want to bring her up with a good sense of self-esteem, i give her lots of compliments and always say nice things about others. I do worry about the impact of the media as she grows up though.

dotcomlovenest Wed 12-Jun-13 19:12:05

I have always encouraged body security and it has paid off. My daughter is 13 and thinks that people that go on about their weight all the time a silly.
She is very happy with herself.
This is not the case for her friends and any campaign that promotes body confidence in people and women in general is a good thing.
But agree with the poster who says we need more diversity.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 12-Jun-13 23:00:32

oh my goodness. my 4 year old boy identified the after model as pretty...

I will definitely show my dd, age 6, those pictures. I have been educating her about adverts for couple of years. she will need to be educated about photos soon too.

MrsGSR Wed 12-Jun-13 23:41:25

On the subject of the roulette being too subtle, I did see a video a few years back (made by Dove but I actually think it's a good resource) called 'Dove evolution' I think. It showed a woman going through the whole process, having make up and hair done and then the editing of the photo they took of her. A much better resource than any I can find on the site.

swallowedAfly Fri 14-Jun-13 07:16:24

thought of this thread again after seeing a supposedly pro women/natural body type meme on facebook. it 'dared' to show a woman with stretch marks on a very slim body and everyone likes and shares and thinks it's marvelous. i'm baffled by why we're so grateful for such crumbs. why when people want to show 'normal' bodies or claim to be about 'natural' real women don't they show the average real body? are we so disgusted by women as they really are that even when we're pretending to not be dishonest/photoshopped/pornified we still have to pick slim, beautiful women but allow them a tiny bit of actual real world humanity like a stretch mark or being more than a size 6?

thinking about it i actually think these kind of campaigns probably make women feel even uglier and more freakish because they are being told yes others lie but look we're showing real, normal bodies and women with actual real, normal bodies think jesus mine is a thousand times worse than that!

beauty is actually quite rare - i am very far from beautiful but have spent my life being complemented about my looks and treated as an attractive woman and in my youth never experiencing being rejected for my looks or anything YET i don't look anything like these supposedly normal women who would have been in the one in a town level of beauty maybe itms. we give this impression that beautiful is the norm and everything else is the diversion from the rule. the reality is that beautiful is incredibly rare (hence the worshipping of it maybe), there's quite a lot of pretty and there's a hell of a lot of beautiful eyes, nice legs, lovely necks, fine pairs of breasts etc spread out amongst us. the whole package is rare beyond belief itms.

i would love to see ACTUAL average normal women with a focus on what is beautiful about them rather than the alternative to perfect being perfect a decade on, or perfect after a baby or perfect in a size 10 instead of 6.

seriously look around your friendship group, your colleagues etc and see how many of them, if any, are actually of the supposed attractiveness level of advertising (even the 'we're doing normal women' advertising). look around the playground at pick up time at the little girls and see how many of them you can actually envisage on that dove website. i honestly can't think of ONE in ds's school and there are some lovely, pretty girls just nowhere near this cardboard cutout standard of 'right'.

then look at the friends who you think of as pretty and you know men see as attractive and realise that they aren't good enough for dove's 'normal women' standard.

then think jesus who gives a flying fuck about this shite that is so far removed from reality it is unbelievable. the idea that your body or face should have to compete with the one in 100,000+ freak of nature is farcical.

sorry for the rant.

SunshinePanda Sat 15-Jun-13 15:34:36

I wasn't sure how useful the website would be for myself and DD. We tend to chat about things more casually as they crop up. I did like the roulette game though and think that could be useful. So overall maybe a bit too contrived for me but would dip in if an issue needed addressing.

AnnieLobeseder Sat 22-Jun-13 01:12:06

So MN has contacted me to ask if I want to meet the folk behind the project. I don't think I'm interested (life is quite complicated enough, I don't have anything to say to them that I haven't already said and I don't really want t hear anything more from them), but I was wondering if anyone else is going to take them up on their offer?

starkadder Sun 23-Jun-13 22:44:36

Haven't contacted me but if they did, I'd feel the same as you, tbh.

MarshaBrady Sun 23-Jun-13 22:47:41

They contacted me too, I said no thanks.

swallowedAfly Mon 24-Jun-13 07:28:49

they contacted me too. i'm not sure what the purpose would be. to meet the people behind it and find out more about it is what it said i think. reality is that even if they wholeheartedly believe they're doing something right on and for women and have heart felt intentions.... well that's not going to change how i feel about it really. it's marketing on insecurities. now it might be packaged differently to make out ah but we're helping those insecurities rather than directly trying to deepen them but it's all part of the problem and in some ways i think this is more insiduously damaging because of the sheep's clothing effect.

MarshaBrady Mon 24-Jun-13 08:15:38

Yes it doesn't matter how it's dressed, how slick, how real I don't agree with the underlying aim so it wouldn't be a good use of my time.

ratbagcatbag Mon 01-Jul-13 12:51:19

I think boys can have self esteem issues too, were very lucky that my DSS (14) is very easy going and thanks to this he's not an easy target for bullies despite having long ginger hair which gets lots of positive and not so positive comments. He has just hit puberty ( a lot later than most of his classmates) and is now suffering spots too, again he doesn't care what people think, but I know from what he's said about his friends, some are really struggling and get very upset by comments that others make.
I also agree it depends where you fit in at school, again DSS is mega sporty, but happy in his own company so doesn't feel the need to get approval from others, however looking at his Facebook feeds,a lot of school girls aren't the same, posting semi naked pics and then stating tings like "boobs look good in this bra shock but I'm fat" there is NO fat at all on these, they then wait for the comments to roll in.

JedwardScissorhands Mon 01-Jul-13 19:36:00

Positive parenting is great for promoting self esteem.

zipzap Thu 04-Jul-13 22:00:07

I'm a parent of young boys so this isn't directly aimed at me but I had a quick look - immediate reaction was it looked like it had been designed by Tampax or Lilets rather than Dove.

As far as boys self esteem goes - yes, very important and starts quite young. DS1 is 8 and watching him interact with friends recently at sports day and the school fete - he is still short for his age, others have started to shoot up in height and it's definitely affecting the way some of them are treating him, even though he is a clever thing who can outrun most of them (I'm trying albeit not succeeding in explaining that he is able to keep up with his class both physically and mentally, it's just that he's now obviously shorter than some kids who he counts as his friends and I would have said were his friends. And yet they were being quite dismissive of him and calling him little thing etc even though they've always played nicely together in the past, all gone to each others birthday parties etc). He seems to be ignoring it and carrying on cheerfully but it does get to him sometimes. For me seeing it first hand and such a change from seeing him in similar situations last term it makes me very sad. And certainly there's not much I can do to change his height, or other people's reactions to it.

stephgr Sat 06-Jul-13 02:47:25

my daughter is only 6 and has no concerns about her appearance or anyone else's.
Looking at the site I think the best thing is the feature on silencing your inner critic is great but it's way too brief. The features on the website really only scratch the surface of self-esteem problems.

aGnotherGnu Sat 06-Jul-13 08:19:47

Been meaning to post on this thread for a while. I hope the Dove team know that for every poster there are 100s of lurkers who are reading and forming opinions about their brand.

If you are really serious about self esteem I would like to see you attempt to tackle some of the root causes rather than messing around with websites. Ie the objectification of women and the constant communication girls receive that the most important thing about them is the way they look. This begins with the gender split in play (see the mumsnet campaigners Let Toys be Toys). The boys get the construction, science and physical toys because they are "clever and active". The girls aisle gets pink sparkly shite, passive "quiet" toys and prettification. So girls are educated from the start that they should keep quiet and look pretty.
Same for clothing: branding in my local Clarks is something like "because boys are tough on their shoes" and "because girls love style and comfort". Or something similar. Know your place girls.
Children's tv 8 times out of 10 features a male lead. Female characters are usually weaker and passive. So we set up our girls to believe that they are weaker, an supposed to play a role in society where how they look is the most important thing they have to offer.
So Dove, how about working with the people who drive all this stuff to try to address why society does this to girls in the first place? And that includes beauty product advertisers, lads mags, page 3 as well as the cases above. Far more impact than games on websites.

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