Dove and Getty Images debut inclusive photo library to help industry depict women as they really are

Project #ShowUs Initiative alongside Girlgaze calls on media and advertising to portray females with authenticity

Published On
Mar 28, 2019

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Dove, Getty Images and Girlgaze, an online marketplace and agency that connects brands with diverse talents, are calling on the industry to get “real” in the way they depict women with Project #ShowUs.

The centerpiece of the initiative is a stock photo collection of more than 5,000 images shot by women and non-binary individuals and which depict women as they really are, unretouched and unfiltered. Moreover, all 179 women photographed in the collection created their own search descriptions and tags--a task usually handled by the photographer. Dove and partners are issuing a call-to-action to the industry to use the #ShowUs photos in their campaigns. 

The idea was inspired by research indicating that women’s self-esteem has dropped over the last decade due to unrealistic portrayals in the media--specifically, the number of women who feel worse about themselves has doubled, going from 14% to 36%. Research also showed that over two-thirds of women don’t feel accurately represented by everyday images and wish the media more accurately depicted them in terms of age, shape, race and size.

Recent activity on Getty Images itself has also shown that users are calling for more progressive representation. Searches for terms like “women leaders,” “real people,” “strong women” and “diverse women” are up dramatically, from 168% to 202%.

The program continues Dove’s legacy of upholding “Real Beauty” and women’s self-esteem in its marketing initiatives. Last June, for example, the brand introduced a “No Digital Distortion” label to indicate how ads free of any photo manipulation.

The collection isn’t the only one to encourage diversity and authenticity in media representation. Recently, Vice’s Broadly also debuted its own library, The Gender Spectrum Collection. Shot by Zackary Drucker, it includes more than 180 images of 15 trans and non-binary models, free for public use.

Project #ShowUs will run across multiple channels, including print, OOH, social and earned media. As part of the effort, Hearst publications including Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, O and Marie Claire will be featuring Project #ShowUs ads and will also incorporate images from the Getty image bank in their editorial coverage.