On October 6, I had the pleasure of traveling to L.A. with Dove to celebrate its first-ever Girl Project. The Girl Collective came to life through a groundbreaking event with an attendance of more than 300 women and girls. For hours, we discussed today's issues in society, lifted our voices, and made future plans to continue the empowerment.
In an experience that almost moved me to tears, Dove encouraged young girls to block outside voices that influence how the girls feel about their appearances. According to the brand, research shows that 6 in 10 girls believe they must look a certain way to do well in life.
The beloved beauty brand joined forces with Shondaland creator Shonda Rhimes to change that. Following this amazingly powerful event, I spoke with Rhimes about inclusivity in the industry and her role in making a change. Spoiler alert: It was everything.
Time after time, Dove has created campaigns celebrating the beauty of inclusivity and diversity.
From its Real Beauty campaign depicting women in their most natural states to its Dermaseries campaign, which highlighted women living with skin conditions, Dove has made an active effort to make women of all ages, sizes, races, and sexualities feel included.
Powerful women in entertainment, media, and culture interacted with young ladies ages 13 and up to help them build positive self-esteem. In a time when the voices of women are continuously under attack, these young women were encouraged to live boldly. Throughout the day, the panels included:
R: When you began writing, how did you feel about the portrayal of women (in particular, women of color) in the media? Besides what you’ve been able to accomplish at Shondaland, how much progress do you feel has been made?
S: When I started writing TV shows, I wanted to represent everybody because it should look like the real world. It should feel normal when you turn on the television and see people who look like you. There are still so many people who are not portrayed on television. Very few larger women are portrayed on television in a way that’s not just about their weight. Very few people with disabilities or prosthetics are portrayed on television in a way that’s not just about their disability — which is appalling, really. Very few non-feminine-identifying women are portrayed on television in a way that’s not a joke.
R: You mentioned the importance of feeling like we’re enough. For women (and men) out there who don’t feel that way, what is your advice?
S: Whether it’s your looks, what clothes you should be wearing, what you should study in college, who you decide to date, if you decide to date — there will be opinions. Many. And many of those opinions will be about what you should look like. What beauty is.
Our world can be obsessed with opinions about appearance. And guess what? Those opinions won’t go away. The voices on social media or in your school hallways won’t always willingly be silenced. Opinions will not go extinct, and quite honestly, who cares? Who cares about others opinions? Self-esteem is how you think about yourself.
R: What’s something about self-worth that you are instilling in your daughters that you wish you had been told growing up?
S: When I was a kid, my father used to say to me all the time, “The only limit to success is your own imagination.” That’s something I tell my girls now. We all have something to brag about. We all have something about ourselves that is amazing or special or interesting. Something we’re proud of. Something brag-worthy. So in our house, we brag on ourselves.
R: Why was becoming a part of something like the Girl Collective so important to you?
S: I’m so very inspired by the next generation. I truly am. They think differently. They care. They believe. At the Girl Collective Event in L.A., I saw confident young girls who are going to change the world. And I am proud to be a part of their journey and to be a part of this community where we can connect with one another, get inspired to take action, and claim our power to decide how we want to define beauty.
Dove is encouraging all women to join the conversation.
Find out more about the Dove Girl Collective here.