Dove beauty spot

In denial (35%), embarrassed (30%), uncomfortable (26%) – that’s how British women feel when someone points out something beautiful about them, according to new research from beauty brand Dove. In fact, women find it so difficult to talk about their bodies in a positive way that they would rather fall over in the middle of a public place than tell people a part of their body they think is beautiful.*

And when asked what part of themselves they would call beautiful, the range of answers shows just how difficult a task it is with responses including calves, toes, shoulders, wrists and even ribcages! As many as 7% of women said they couldn’t name a single thing.

The power of women identifying their friends’ beauty spots

Yet while only 1% of British women would call themselves beautiful, they find it easy to see beauty in their friends. On average, it takes women less than half a second to name something beautiful about their friends, compared to up to eight seconds to name something beautiful about themselves.

Over half of women (52%) make sure they tell their friends what’s beautiful about them on a regular basis, with two thirds (66%) saying they do so because they know the positive impact this can have on how they feel about their bodies.

It is this ability of women to help their friends see their own personal beauty that Dove is aiming to capitalise on in its Beauty Spot campaign which launches today. As a brand that is committed to helping women recognise their own individual beauty, Dove is calling on women to tackle the beauty confidence deficit in the UK by helping their friends see what is beautiful about them, to help unlock greater body confidence and self-esteem.

Real women celebrate their beauty spots

Alan Jope

Dove has partnered with award winning photographer Laura Pannack to capture the transformative power of real women celebrating a part of themselves that their friends have helped them identify as beautiful. The image features five real women covering most of their bodies with a sheet, revealing only their own beauty spots.

Commenting on the images, photographer Laura Pannack said: “The idea of the image is to represent the power we all have to feel more confident about who we are. By supporting one another we can change our own views to more rational, realistic, and positive ones. I hope that when people see the campaign they will be encouraged to re-evaluate how they define beauty and compliment a friend on how great her bum looks rather than her new jeans.”

Kate Goodridge, 32 from Coventry, who chose her bottom as her beauty spot (pictured second from right), says: “At first it was hard to think about a part of my body I was happy with, but with people encouraging me to look at the parts of my body I am happy with, I realised my bum was my beauty spot.”

25 year old Miriam Bashorunfrom London chose her arms as her beauty spot (pictured far right). She says: “They are toned without being overly muscly and the skin is soft. I hadn't said or thought about my body in a positive way in a long time. It was great to have a conversation about our bodies that wasn't just what we hated about them.”

Commenting on the research, Kate Fox,aDirector of the Social Issues Research Centre, says: "This Dove study reveals some of the anxieties experienced by women talking about their own appearance, perhaps especially in this country, where our 'modesty rules' complicate matters by prescribing self-deprecation. But for me the most important findings are those showing how readily and effortlessly female friends praise each other's appearance, and the power of such compliments to reassure us and lift our spirits."

The new Dove campaign launches on 29th April across TV and digital platforms. The TV campaign features the real women in the photography being asked to name something beautiful about their friends and themselves, to dramatise just how difficult women find it to acknowledge their own beauty. Women are then invited to visit Dove on Facebook to learn more and to get involved in sharing and celebrating the power of the beauty spot to boost the British beauty deficit.

Further Research Findings

Top ten most preferred parts of our bodies

  1. Eyes
  2. Boobs
  3. Mouth
  4. Bottom
  5. Hands
  6. Nose
  7. Shoulders
  8. Ears
  9. Calves
  10. Feet

Top ten least preferred parts of our bodies

  1. Tummy
  2. Thighs
  3. Bottom
  4. Boobs
  5. Nose
  6. Hips
  7. Feet
  8. Knees
  9. Calves
  10. Hands

The power of friends to boost beauty confidence

  • Two thirds of women (66%) say they make a point of telling their friends that they look beautiful
  • A quarter of women (25%) have told a friend in the last month she was beautiful, whilst a fifth (22%) have told a friend she is beautiful in the last week
  • Over half of women (52%) tell their friends they look beautiful because they think it will make them feel happy about themselves. Nearly a quarter (23%) say they do this because they recognise how good it makes them feel when someone does the same to them

Paying and receiving compliments

  • On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being very difficult and 10 being very easy, 6 is the average figure for how easy women find it to pay compliments to their friends
  • In contrast, when it comes to receiving a compliment about their own beauty, on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being very difficult and 10 being very easy, 4 is the average figure women gave

Where women think pressure to be beautiful comes from

  • 28% of women say they put the biggest beauty pressure on themselves
  • 23% say they feel most pressure from society to be beautiful
  • 16% say they feel the most pressure to be beautiful from the media

How women describe themselves

  • Just 1% of women describe themselves as beautiful (this is down a percentage point from a Dove survey conducted in 2011 where 2% of women described themselves as beautiful)
  • 31% of women describe themselves as average
  • 23% describe themselves as ‘natural’
  • 12% describe themselves as attractive

Qualitative study results

On average, it took women in the sample 3.7 seconds to name a part of their body with which they were satisfied or which they regarded as a positive feature of their own appearance. In some case, the response was around eight seconds, a significant period of silence in a normal conversation. During this time there was often a noticeable increase in Beta waves (demonstrating a heightened sense of concentration and alertness)

On average, women in the study each named 2.75 positive attributes about themselves. In most cases, however, participants tended to qualify their remarks with self-deprecating comments

When prompted to think about negative aspects of body image, most women showed a mild increase in anxiety, as measured by heart rate and, particularly, by rising levels of Galvanic Skin Response (GSR).They were also quicker to provide a response when asked about negative qualities – on average, 1.4 seconds

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