ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. — To illustrate how beauty is being redefined and to mark the 10th anniversary of its “Campaign for Real Beauty,” Unilever’s Dove has partnered with the Sundance Institute and filmmaker Cynthia Wade on a documentary short film, “Selfie.”
Dove premiered “Selfie,” a documentary short film, on Monday at Sundance Institute's Women at Sundance brunch in Park City, Utah. Directed by Wade and produced by Sharon Liese, the film captures the journey of multiple generations of girls and their mothers in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts as they create a new type of selfie that celebrates their unique beauty.
"The way women are defining beauty today is changing dramatically, and social media has much to do with the change," Wade said. "Now we have the ability to photograph the beauty we see in our friends and ourselves. When we share these diverse images on our social networks, we are taking personal ownership and truly redefining beauty."
“Selfie” focuses on a social media challenge, #BeautyIs, in which the film's participants explore their vulnerable self-images and take selfies, which prominently feature what they perceive as their personal physical flaws. With the help of a professional photographer, the girls build the courage to create art by embracing their least desirable feature, thus expanding their definition of what beauty is. Exhibiting these images in a #BeautyIs selfie photo gallery, the young women share their newly discovered beauty with women of all ages in their community.
As part of its commitment to redefining beauty, Dove is supporting the 2013-2014 Mentorship Program of the Sundance Institute - Women In Film Los Angeles Women Filmmakers Initiative. The 2014 class of mentees includes six female filmmakers involved in both documentary and narrative projects who have been paired with mentors working in the industry today. The goal of the mentorship year is to provide these artists with support, community and access to help them advance their careers to the next level. In addition, the Dove brand's support allowed for the creation of the Dove Beauty Redefined Fellowship, providing a grant to Wade to create “Selfie.” As part of this grant, Wade was paired with filmmaker Barbara Kopple, who acted as a mentor throughout the creative process.
Ten years ago, Dove discovered that only 2% of women around the world believed they were beautiful. Based on that insight, Dove launched the “Campaign For Real Beauty” and ignited a conversation about the need for a wider definition of beauty. A decade later, Dove has uncovered through a major study in the United States that 62% of women feel they are responsible for influencing their own definition of beauty, nearly triple from the 23% 10 years ago.
When it comes to societal factors that influence the beauty conversation, media and pop culture continue to play a pivotal role, but social media and user-generated content is emerging as one of the most powerful influencing factors. Social media offers women the opportunity to create their own media, personalize beauty and influence the conversation. More than half (55%) of women believe social media is playing a larger role in influencing the beauty conversation than traditional media, the company stated.
"How we define beauty today has evolved over the past 10 years," says Nancy Etcoff, director of the Program in Aesthetics and Well Being at Massachusetts General Hospital and assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School, who consulted on the research. "The advent of social media is an empowering tool for women to tell their own beauty story and has allowed the definition of beauty to evolve into one that is more multi-faceted and inclusive. Women are becoming their own media creators. It's the personalization of beauty for the next generation."