Dove has announced a two-year partnership with Cartoon Network, bringing the brand's global Self-Esteem project to youngsters in the form of hit animation Steven Universe.
The project aims to help young people build self-esteem and body confidence through educational programmes, and has been running around the world since 2004.
Six short animated films directed by Steven Universe creator, Rebecca Sugar, will be coming to social media platforms, the first of which debuts today.
Working with the Dove Self-Esteem Project, all content has been carefully co-created and grounded in scientific evidence by body image expert, Dr Phillippa Diedrichs at the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England. in order to make a meaningful impact on a young person’s self-esteem and body confidence.
The project is based on the knowledge that over half of girls do not have high body confidence, leading them to avoid spending time with friends and family, put their health at risk and opt-out of important life events.
The Dove Self-Esteem Project exists in 140 countries around the world is committed to reaching 40 million young people by 2020 through its existing educational programmes; and with the help of Steven Universe, will now reach 20 million more.
“Since 2004, through the Dove Self-Esteem Project, we have been providing young people with the tools and resources they need to develop body confidence and self-esteem so they can fully participate in life and reach their full potential,” says Sophie Galvani, Dove global vice president.
“By partnering with Cartoon Network and Rebecca Sugar we are able to create new ways to make a real impact towards our mission of helping young people build positive body confidence and self-esteem.”
“Appearance ideals and stereotypes are widespread in children’s media. Studies show that this trend occurs more frequently on screen than in books. Therefore, it is vital to have new content that encourages children to have a positive relationship with the way they look and showcases a diverse and inclusive range of appearances” states Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, body image expert.
“The partnership creates content that tackles topics identified in scientific research as key influences on young people’s body confidence, and delivers it in an engaging and fun way.”
Steven Universe is the first animated series on Cartoon Network to be created by a woman and has been globally recognised for its themes of inclusivity, empathy and relatability.
“Cartoons are a powerful medium when it comes to empathy and understanding, which is why my team and I take great care with Steven Universe to reflect real issues that affect our audience," said the show's creator. "I'm grateful that I will have access to a plethora of research on body image and mental health thanks to this partnership with the Dove Self-Esteem Project. This is an issue I have struggled with personally and I hope this will be a chance to amplify positive messages about self-awareness and acceptance.”