There’s never been a time when corporate social responsibility has weighed heavier. on the minds of business leaders. Now, more than ever, there’s the push for companies to not only produce good products, but to do good as well. As of late, there’s been a collective movement amongst consumer brands, particularly personal care and apparel companies, to be more inclusive of all body types. More so with women-focused brands, there’s been a greater use of natural models in campaign ads, moving away from the overly made-up supermodel and toward the everyday woman. However, according to AdAge, two-thirds of American women still feel they are being underrepresented by the media, and wish the media were more inclusive of different ages, races and body types.

Dove—a game changer in the space of female empowerment—Getty Images and Girlgaze, an online agency connecting brands with talent, took matters into their own hands with the Project #ShowUs campaign; an effort to create a stock photo collection of more than 5,000 images of women, shot by women and non-binary individuals, for brands to use in upcoming campaigns. None of the photos in the collection, which includes 179 women, have been edited, as the goal is to show women as they are, for who they are, and to spread the message that they are both accepted and acceptable as is. The objective was also inspired by research which, according to AdAge, indicated that women are less self-confident today than they were 10 years ago: 36 percent of women feel “worse” about themselves today compared to 14 percent in 2009. The cause has been attributed to media images that distort impressions of how women “should” look.

This effort piggybacks off a series of campaigns led by Dove over the years. Its “Real Beauty” campaign —which, having launched in 2004, is celebrating its 16th year—was designed to make women feel better about themselves after a study of 3,000 women in 10 countries found only two percent of them considered themselves beautiful. This number has since risen, but only to four percent. Project #ShowUs is being run in print, on social media and through out-of-home advertising, as well as in Hearst publications—Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, O and Marie Claire—which will incorporate images from the collection into their magazines. The images can be seen here:


Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.