Beauty and The Beast

In 1913, Webster’s dictionary defined beauty as “properties pleasing the eye, the ear, the
intellect, the aesthetic faculty or the moral sense.
” Now, let’s dive deeper into it and try to assess the extent to which this definition is still relevant these days. It seems that in the process of 111 years we have lost most of it and all that’s left are the eye-pleasing properties, or have we not? The concept of beauty with the birth of the Internet era, and social media especially, has revolved around the visual —the striking features and captivating proportions of selected few chosen beauty icons. This is wrong, no need to say why really. It’s not just social media we are having hard times with currently, the evolution of generative AI has yet opened up an another frontier in the real-beauty struggle, thus it’s simpler than ever for people to create and share representations of the human figure. At the heart of the matter is the presence of bias within the AI itself. You should know it by now, those infamous datasets utilized to train AI models or the language employed to depict beauty and appearance are strongly represented all over the place. We are the ones to be blamed here, if it wasn’t for the lost properties of beauty along the way of 100 years of our existence, the bias that influences the output of AI images would not exist. The question is how to bring back what we have lost on the way. How to redefine beauty in a way which extends beyond the mere visual perception; how to bring back the love for individualism, praise for diversity and every-age body confidence, how to reclaim the concept of beauty that does not cater to the male gaze or the patriarchy?! How to…the list goes on. Even though it may not be the easiest thing to do, there is hope. As always, it’s all about the education.

Dove, personal care brand owned by Unilever, has recently launched a campaign addressing the bias in GenAI. But rather than just producing an ad like they did 20 years back, this time they have decided to start from scratch, almost. Desperate times call for desperate measures, therefore the brand has fired off a full scale educational campaign regarding beauty and diversity. A beautifully crafted Dove ad is accompanied by a massive report on the state of beauty in 2024, and ladies and gentlemen, a comprehensive prompt guide for the entire industry.

“Twenty years ago, Dove made a stand in challenging false beauty standards. Today, as we transition into an era where 90% of content is predicted to be AI-generated by 2025*, our message still stands: keep beauty real.”

The Code | A Dove Film | Dove Self-Esteem Project

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Campaign for Real Beauty, challenging traditional beauty standards and promoting self-acceptance, Dove is doing it again, reaffirming its dedication to promoting authentic beauty, pledging never to utilize AI to fabricate or alter women’s images. And in order for the industry to follow the path the brand has got us covered with a great prompt playbook. A comprehensive, image-rich 70 page book of resources, dos and donts, great prompts ideas, examples and how-to material which will equip everyone to make the most of AI when exploring and generating Real Beauty via GenAI.

You can download the playbook here.

The Real State of Beauty: A Global Report is the by far the most extensive research ever run by a beauty brand. Conducted among a massive group of 33k individuals from 20 different countries, the study reveals among other shocking statistics that for example two out of three women feel that the emphasis on physical attractiveness has never been stronger. What’s even more alarming is that one in two women feel pressure to modify their appearance due to online content, even if they know it was AI generated! While beauty standards have progressed to include diversity across race, sexual orientation, gender and body size, the list of appearance expectations continues to expand, becoming increasingly unattainable. There is still a long way to go, but with help of such campaigns as Dove’s or influential individuals, which younger generations look up to, who are on a mission to champion real images of real women online it can be done. Let the be real era begin.

You can download The Real State of Beauty: A Global Report (April 2024) here.

“Let’s make beauty a source of happiness and confidence, not anxiety, for every woman.”