The brand is here to remind women that most of the beauty ads they see *are* retouched—and that's a problem.

By Renee Cherry
Photo: Dove

Back when Dove launched its Real Beauty campaign in 2004, using diverse body types in beauty ads was basically unheard of. The company has used body-positive themes in its campaigns ever since, for better and for worse. Last year, the brand made a big step by committing to using only unretouched photos-and now it will start labeling all photos with a new "no digital distortion" mark. (Related: People Are Loving ASOS for These Unretouched Swimsuit Photos)

Starting in July, all of the brand's photos across print, digital, and social will feature the new watermark. The move isn't just a pat on the back, but a way to draw attention to the fact that most ads are edited, Dove explained in a press release. "Dove will be held accountable to only show accurate and genuine portrayals of people, showing them how they are in real life."

"The ambition of the Mark is to help women and girls navigate the media landscape letting them know that the image they see has not been digitally distorted to fit the ideals of what beauty is and isn't," according to the brand.

Any effort to draw attention to retouching is certainly warranted, since women often look at photos without realizing that the photos have been retouched. One study in the journal Media Psychology found that most young women who looked at retouched photos of other women weren't able to detect the distortion. By labeling its unedited images, Dove is more explicitly pointing out the fact that its unretouched photos are, in fact, the exception.

Dove isn't alone in its no-retouching policy. In 2014, Aerie launched its #AerieReal campaign promising it wouldn't retouch its photos either. (They've even called for customers to post their own unretouched photos as part of the campaign.) This January, CVS announced it would stop retouching its photos used to sell beauty products, and include a "beauty mark" similar to Dove's new watermark.

While more brands catch up to this woke and real concept of beauty, at least more women will be aware that doctored-up photos are still taking up the majority of ad space they see on an everyday basis-an important step toward redefining unrealistic beauty standards.


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