Growing up, the imagery I saw in the media had an immense impact on my self-confidence. More often than not, the characteristics society glorified as "beautiful" did not include my wide-nose, naturally-textured 4c hair, dark skin, or shapely hips. Additionally, the limiting Eurocentric ideals of beauty made me, and so many other women, feel marginalized.
This is why Dove's new campaign #ShowUs in collaboration with Getty Images and GirlGaze (an organization that seeks to promote Gen Z photographers and directors) is so important. The campaign features a collection of over 5,000 stock images, shot by 100 percent female and non-binary photographers in over 39 countries. The images capture breathtaking shots of real women from all walks of life—what true representation and inclusivity looks like. Dove knew this needed to be done after seeing the results of its research, which proved that 70 percent of women still don't feel represented by everyday images in the media, and 90 percent of stock photography is shot by male photographers.
I had the honor of sharing an esteemed panel with Dove to speak on behalf of Marie Claire and Hearst Magazines along with Amanda Cadenet, founder and CEO of Girlgaze, Dr. Rebecca Swift, senior director of Creative Insights at Getty Images, Anna Sophia, a representative from the campaign, and Dre Brown, Dove's self-esteem educator, to discuss the importance of diverse imagery in the media. “Suddenly you wake up and realize you are the person that has the power to make the change," Swift said. "There are no other stock agencies that has a female as a senior creative. You can use your power to maintain the status quo or you can use it to change the status quo.”
Click through to see the powerful images showcasing real beauty.