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Dove commits to never using AI to represent “real beauty”

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Business |Beauty

Dove ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ fronted by singer-songwriter Jessie J Credits: Dove

Skincare brand Dove states that artificial intelligence (AI) is threatening the representation of real beauty, and it commits to never using AI to represent real women in its adverts.

The pledge comes as the Unilever-owned brand celebrates 20 years of its ‘Campaign for Real Beauty,’ where it challenges society, media, and the beauty industry to change its representation of women, be transparent about digital distortion and face up to the harmful impact of unrealistic beauty standards on women and girls.

In 2004, when the campaign began, Dove’s research found that only 2 percent of women considered themselves beautiful, while in its 2024 ‘The Real State of Beauty’ global report, it reveals that while beauty ideals have diversified over the years, the checklist is growing and impossible to meet, from looking healthy (79 percent) to also being slim (71 percent), having a small waist (66 percent) while also being curvy (55 percent). Dove found that 2 in 3 women believe that women today are expected to be more physically attractive than their mother's generation was.

Dove believes that one of the biggest threats to the representation of real beauty today is AI with nine out of 10 women and girls stating they have been exposed to potentially harmful beauty content online.

Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, research psychologist at the Centre of Appearance Research at the University of West England and body image expert, said in a statement: "Despite 20 years of work to broaden definitions of beauty, women feel less confident in their own beauty than they did a decade ago.

"Representation is more important than ever. As AI technology continues to evolve, it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between what is real beauty and what is manufactured by AI."

Dove challenges use of AI with ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’

With experts predicting that 90 percent of the content online will be AI-generated by 2025, the rise of AI is a threat to women's wellbeing, as Dove adds that nearly half feel pressure to alter their appearance because of what they see online, even when they know it's fake or AI-generated.

With this in mind, Dove said it will accelerate its efforts to champion transparency and diversity and take action to shatter beauty stereotypes in new and emerging media while shunning AI technology in its campaigns.

Dove is also looking to set new digital standards of representation with the creation of the Real Beauty Prompt Guidelines, easy-to-use guidance for everyone on how to create images that are representative of Real Beauty on the most popular generative AI programmes.

Alessandro Manfredi, chief marketing officer at Dove, added: "At Dove, we seek a future in which women get to decide and declare what real beauty looks like – not algorithms. As we navigate the opportunities and challenges that come with new and emerging technology, we remain committed to protect, celebrate, and champion Real Beauty.

“Pledging to never use AI in our communications is just one step. We will not stop until beauty is a source of happiness, not anxiety, for every woman and girl."

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