Seventeen, Dove Team for 'Body Peace Project'

Girls Asked to Sign Pledge to Not Hate Their Shapes

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Seventeen magazine may still be pretty obsessed with appearance -- recent issues delivered dozens of tips on manicures, shopping and flawless skin -- but under Editor in Chief Ann Shoket, the November issue is introducing a "Seventeen Body Peace Project" to help girls appreciate their shapes and stop stressing over the beauty industry's preferred standards. And she's getting some help from Unilever's Dove, a brand whose most recent viral video chronicles the damaging effect of unrealistic media images on young girls.
As part of the program, the magazine is encouraging girls to sign a 'Body Peace Treaty' with vows such as: 'Never blame my body for the bad day I'm having'.
As part of the program, the magazine is encouraging girls to sign a 'Body Peace Treaty' with vows such as: 'Never blame my body for the bad day I'm having'.

As part of the effort, Seventeen and Dove's Self Esteem-Fund commissioned a body-image survey that found 51% of teen girls said they knew they should like their bodies better -- but frequently faltered under cultural pressure to be thinner.

Shutdowns in industry
The move comes at an interesting juncture for magazines aimed at young women -- and no less so for marketing beauty. Although the underlying causes are varied, magazines aimed at teens and young women have seen their ranks thin over the past few years, with shutdowns at titles such as Elle Girl, YM, Teen People and Jane. Some beauty advertisers, particularly Dove, have meanwhile begun trying to reach those consumers who may have felt put down by ads starring traditional, completely unrealistic models.

"We're facing a teen crisis in teen body image," Ms. Shoket said in a statement. "While it's our goal to help girls look great, our mission is empty if they don't feel great too."

As part of the program, the magazine is encouraging girls to sign a "Body Peace Treaty" with vows such as: "Never blame my body for the bad day I'm having," "Remember that the sun will still rise tomorrow even if I had one too many slices of pizza or an extra scoop of ice cream tonight" and, maybe most notably, "Remind myself that what you see isn't always what you get on TV and in ads -- it takes a lot of airbrushing, dieting, money and work to look like that."

Celebs sign treaty
Fourteen celebrities, including Ashlee Simpson and Fergie, have signed the treaty themselves. The magazine will separately give the "Body Peace Prize" to one celebrity each month who is judged to positively embrace her body image.

The survey, conducted in conjunction with Dove, also found that 91% of teen girls feel anxiety or stress about some part of their looks when getting ready each morning.

"We all have a responsibility as marketers, educators, mentors and role models, to change the way we communicate with girls," said Kathy O'Brien, marketing director for Dove. "We may not be able to decrease the number of messages girls receive, but we can educate girls about how they perceive them."
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