A shocking survey revealed that women in the UK struggling with feeling confident about themselves.
Thankfully, the type of adverts we’re exposed to is slowly undergoing a makeover.
Last week, we reported on US skincare brand Blume’s refreshing skincare adverts which promoted its acne products with - *shock* - women who actually have acne.
Add to that, empowering projects, like Epidermis, a beautiful series of 20 portraits featuring women with common skin conditions, and we’re finally beginning to normalise conversations around topics we used to keep to ourselves.
The latest inspiring movement comes in the form of Gillette Venus’s ‘My Skin. My Way’ campaign; an inspiring ad that not only challenges beauty stereotypes but encourages women from all over the world to celebrate what makes them unique.
The concept for ‘My Skin. My Way’ came from a study Gillette Venus conducted, which produced some pretty shocking statistics.
A quarter of women in the UK revealed that they don’t feel comfortable in their own skin because they don’t meet ‘typical’ beauty standards. Sadly, these feelings have left a third of women cancelling a social event like a night out with friends because they were suffering with a lack of confidence.
But 63% of UK women say they would feel more confident if they saw women in adverts who reflected the way they look - which was the catalyst for ‘My Skin. My Way’.
The campaign features women celebrating their skin and highlights a range of stories.
One of these stories comes from a woman named Marika, who has congenital nevi, meaning her body is covered in birthmarks.
Marika struggled with bullying during her childhood and often covered up her skin. “When the only thing you hear is something negative about you, you start to think the same way.”
When Marika gave birth to her son, she realised that she wouldn’t want her son to feel that way about himself and her perception shifted; “Every skin is beautiful and it’s amazing to see how different we all are - after all there’s no me without my skin.”
Another story comes from Kyisha, who opens up about learning to embrace her C-section scar.
“During my pregnancy, if you asked what I absolutely didn’t want it was a C-section scar,” she says, “So I really had to work with it and heal with it as my body healed.
“It’s become a sign of celebration for me now. There is a lot of pressure around snapping back in motherhood and I definitely felt that pressure.”
Here’s hoping other brands follow suit.
For far too long, the representation of women by both mainstream and social media has failed to reflect who we see in the mirror, and its impact on our mental health is worrying. Stylist’s Love Women initiative promises to change that. As well as the launch of our Body Politics series, we’ve partnered with Dove, whose latest project (in conjunction with photo library Getty Images) aims to increase the supply of diverse pictures of women – which we will be using going forward.
Our editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski has also made five pledges to Stylist readers:
- We will ensure the women you see on our pages represent all women – inclusive of ethnicity, body shape, sexuality, age and disability. When we create content and ideas, we will ensure that all women are represented at the table. We commit to featuring one fashion or beauty photoshoot a month that uses real, diverse women.
- We will ensure that we never sell an impossible dream. We believe in aspiration, but not in selling a lie. We will work with influencers, celebrities and other partners to encourage them to reveal their truths, too.
- We will celebrate the so-called flaws of women to prove the normality in all of our bodies. We will run videos, photoshoots and honest accounts of our bodies and how they behave.
- We will hold regular huddles with our advertisers and brand partners to challenge the way they portray and reflect women in their branding and advertising. We will call out and challenge brands, media and people who refuse to represent women with respect and truth. We will call on the government to support our goals.
- Through insight and anecdote, we will teach everyone about the issues facing women, what needs to be done and how we can all work together to resolve this self-esteem crisis.
Find out more about Stylist’s Love Women initiative here.
All images: Gillette Venus