Sun, 06/02/2013 - 8:21pm

Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty Workshop


Rita Holowenko


I love when I get inspired and can’t wait to share stuff.  This is one of those moments.  I just came home from Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty Self Esteem workshop presented by Girls in the Game along with Laura Ross, MLA for Regina Qu’Appelle Valley and Christine Tell, MLA Regina Wascana Plains.  I took my daughter hoping she’d get some sort of message that she’s okay the way she is, that the girls in the music videos (on the Family Channel) and magazine covers aren’t everyday beauty role models, and that we’d have a nice bonding mother and daughter time.  That did happen, but what I did get that was unanticipated were two lessons for myself.  


Lesson 1: Fake it till you make it

I have already come to accept that I don’t look like a movie star, and that movie stars don’t always look like movie stars, and even movie stars don’t like how they look.  But it’s the inner me that I’m not always confident with.  When I was in line to enter the event, I had the great opportunity to meet MLA Laura Ross.  She invited me to speak about KinderBuzz to a room full of women like myself -- I had the chance to talk about the very thing I’m passionate about to bring to families in Regina.  I backed out.  I had to follow the beautiful, successful, confident June Zimmer (Girls in the Game, Ph.D, Award winner, charismatic, and on and on).  And then I’d have to follow the beautiful, successful, confident Janice Taylor (Just Be Friends, “the one who met Oprah”, and now Just Be Friends Kids).  Nope, couldn’t do that.  But then June said in her talk “Fake It till You Make It”.  Could I pretend to be confident enough to actually convince others, and then eventually myself?  I think so, but what I need is to overcome the fact and the fear that I do stumble on my words, and that I think of way more clever things than I ever speak.  I always tell my daughter that she’s great the way she is, to ignore what people say, and not worry what others think.  But was I modelling that bevavour for her?  No.


Lesson 2:  Promise Card

 I don’t appear in too many family photos.  I don’t like how I look in photos.  That would mean I don’t like I how look, but I didn’t really see it that way.  What example am I giving my daughter?  Why isn’t her mom in photos?  What memories am I leaving behind?  June also shared her story – whenever she bought a bathing suit, she bought a cover up with it.  She always wore a bathing suit and shorts or something to cover her body in the bathing suit.  What is that teaching her daughter?  That she has to hide her body – in a one piece speedo none the less.  During the session we filled out sheets together, and the last activity was a Promise Card.  What is one thing my daughter would promise to herself to be more confident?   I filled out my promise card in my mind to be in more photos and not hide behind the camera or not to be just outside the frame of the photo.


Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty Workshop will be back in October.  More than half of Canadian girls avoid normal daily activities like attending school, joining sports teams, or even giving their opinion when they feel bad about their looks.  This is truly a great event for both daughters and adults alike.

The Dove Self-Esteem Project provides information for moms and mentors who want to inspire girls when they need it most, and to provide a series of activities for mothers (or other female role models) and daughters to do together to explore issues around self-esteem and body confidence.

For more information, visit


For more information on Girls in the Game, visit

For Just Be Friends and Just Be Friends Kids visit and

You are awesome!

Thank you Rita for your kind words! It was wonderful to see you at this event. Seems like a lifetime ago when we were once young girls of 19 figuring out these major topics of "self-esteem" and "body esteem", what we thought back then and how things have changed. For many years I felt like all I did was fake it until I made it. I am not sure how much it served me but this I know to be true: we become what we think about, dream about and bring about. I know with more mothers who think like you do, model the behaviors you do, we can make a difference for our children. With sharing your story and your site like this, you make a difference. We can all learn from you, you may think you "stumble" with your words but your voice is loud and clear. Thank you for "just being YOU! 

dove campaign

I am glad there were some empowering positive messages that came from the Dove workshop. However, Dove is owned by Unilever - the same comany that owns and markets "Axe" (you can't get more seXist than Axe marketing!) How can a company offer these campaigns, yet still promote a product like Axe? It's all in the marketing and telling people what they want to hear. It is an oxymoron if you ask me. Take all the good you can from the "campaign for real beauty", but don't believe Dove (Unilever) really believes the Dove message.