Reverse Selfie by Dove

I absolutely love the ‘Reverse Selfie’ campaign by Dove that tackles low self-esteem and the negative effects of social media. As a parent the effects of social media on young people is a major concern for me and campaigns like this one are so refreshing to see.  

Dove have been campaigning to fight against unrealistic beauty standards since 2004 when they launched the Dove Self Esteem campaign and this new campaign highlights the damage caused by heavily-edited selfies on social media.  

While the dangers of social media have been widely documented, concerns over the harm of retouching apps and filters are only just starting to show. 

Did you know that by the age of 13, a horrifying 80% of girls distort the way they look online! 

Nicknamed ‘generation selfie’, young people are more likely to suffer low self-esteem as a result of social media.  Widely available apps encourage children to stare intently at their own reflection. But instead of admiring their perfect imperfections, they are given tools to ‘fix’ them, playing around with the dimensions of their face until they look like a superimposed Bratz doll. 

Dove is using its power and influence to try to combat the harmful impact of the selfie culture. 

At the heart of the campaign is a 60-second film directed by Benito Montorio, called Reverse Selfie.  The video begins with a young woman posting a photo of herself on social media. The film then plays in reverse, with the woman undoing the tweaks and staging that went into creating the image to reveal it’s not a woman at all behind the picture, but actually a young girl, barely in her teens.   Quite scary on many levels. 

Watch the video here.

The focus of the campaign is on reversing the damage social media continues to have on young women and girls. Along with the film, a set of photographic posters shot by Sophie Harris-Taylor have been created. Each girl is shown with her natural face split with the heavily edited version, to show the stark realities of these apps.

More screen time during the pandemic has only made things worse. The campaign calls for action instead of simply awareness. This is why Dove is also offering a Social Media Confidence Kit, one version for parents and another for teachers. The kit encourages parents and teachers to have ‘the Selfie Talk’ with the young people in their lives, which they equate to being just as much as important as conversations about puberty, consent and sex.

“Now that social media has grown to be part of our everyday lives, digital distortion is happening more than ever and tools once only available to the professionals can now be accessed by young girls at the touch of a button without regulation,” says Dove’s executive vice president Alessandro Manfredi. 

“Girls all around the world have begun to feel the pressure to edit and distort how they look, to create something ‘perfect’ which cannot be achieved in real life.” 

Dove hopes to start a movement to build confidence with the hashtag, #NoDigitalDistortion, and will be running ads all over the world across TV, print, digital and social.  

Written by Kim Dodd