Mental Health, News & Events, Wellness / Self-Care

Dove’s new campaign addresses digital distortion

The side affects and trauma are quite troubling.

words by: Natasha Marsh
May 23, 2021

Young kids, regardless of gender, are using photo editing apps by age 10 when taking selfies on apps like Instagram. And it’s shattering their confidence. Dove is out to change that.


What is the Dove The Selfie Talk campaign?

Their new campaign called “The Selfie Talk” shares with viewers the scary side affects of digital distortion and how young kids are changing their appearance for social media. The one minute video exists to show the emotional and physical processes that go into creating a selfie, emphasizing the editing tools — that were once given to professionals only — young people have access to without regulation.


They can change their nose shape, eyes, highlight their skin, cover their acne, enhance a facial feature and more. Dove is calling this out and asking adults to take matters into their own hands and share with young people. And after a year of sheltering-in-place with increased screen time, this phenomenon of unrealistic beauty ideals has only gotten worse.


Why is digital distortion an issue?

Features like “Enhance” on TikTok or “Touch up my appearance” on Zoom has allowed us to shrink, smooth and alter our faces to perfection. It has never been easier to get your perfect image. But the comparison culture that it has created is anything but healthy.


Previously, where we would compare ourselves to A-listers on television and celebrities in magazines, social media has widened the net — comparing our appearance to celebrities, airbrushed influencers, and airbrushed versions of ourselves (measuring our real self to this fake image we’ve created of ourselves).


Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s created a new normal of how our faces should look like. A concerning 55% of plastic surgeons in 2018 stated their clients were motivated by a desire to look better in selfies.


“For over 60 years, Dove has advocated for real beauty. Part of that is our ‘No Digital Distortion’ Mark – that tells you that the people in our ads are just as you’d see them in real life. With the rise of social media, digital distortion is now happening on a much bigger scale, by younger people, without regulation. We see so much creativity and expression of self-identity through the use of filters, but when editing apps are used to digitally distort images to conform to unrealistic beauty standards that cannot be achieved in real life, it can be damaging to the self-esteem of young people. Dove wants to highlight this issue and provide tools to parents and carers to help young people navigate social media in a positive way,” their communications and sustainability director said in a recent press statement.


How is the campaign helping?

These unrealistic standards and images cannot be achieved and it is damaging to young people’s self-esteem as they seek validation in likes and comments. In partnership with body-positivity activist and Grammy award-winning musician, Lizzo, the goal of the campaign is to help young people navigate social media in a positive, healthy way.


“I love how this generation is so creative in the ways in which they express themselves. It’s really inspiring to see how people are taking their identity and their beauty into their own hands. However, people are struggling with their self-image and self-confidence more than ever. This is amplified by the increasing pressure to show a digitally distorted version of ourselves, reinforcing the idea that our beauty in real life is not good enough or worthy of likes. That’s why the Dove Self-Esteem Project and I want you to have The Selfie Talk with a young person in your life. It’s happening to young people everywhere, so let’s talk about it,” the artist shared online.


Although social media is a great way at connecting, especially in a year of lockdown, it has major side affects on body image, confidence, mood and self-esteem of young people. Head over to to learn more about The Selfie Talk campaign and talk to loved ones about the negative nature of digital distortion, whether they’re children or adults.


Photo via Dove