Dove has formed a two-year, global partnership with Cartoon Network’s acclaimed Steven Universe property to educate young people on body confidence through the animated show’s themes of inclusivity and empowerment, communicating to kids in a medium they know and love in an innovative way.
The collaboration comes from the Dove Self-Esteem Project, which has been helping young people build self-esteem and body confidence since 2004, seeking to address the lack of confidence felt by more than half of girls which leads to social isolation, health risks and missing out on important life events. The project exists in 140 countries around the world, and is committed to reaching 40 million young people by 2020 with its existing educational program — and, with the help of Steven and the Crystal Gems, will now reach 20 million more.
Christina Miller, President – Cartoon Network, says: “It has always been important to us that our content resonates with our audience and empowers them. This partnership is unprecedented in its scale, reach and ambition to make a difference in kids lives around the world.”
The partnership will come alive for CN fans with six short animated films directed by Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar, the first of which premieres 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.
“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,” says Sugar, who is CN’s first female original series 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.
An original song featuring the cartoon’s cast, with an accompanying music video and educational eBook will launch later this year.
“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. Diedrichs. “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.”
“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. “We are passionate about evolving the types of messages the next generation are receiving through media, which is why we are working side by side with partners to take the programme to the next level. We are introducing new tools to enable us to reach even more young people with content that not only educates but also entertains. 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.”