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Dove takes its Real Beauty mission to the virtual world


Dove’s new partnership aims to create a more representative, inclusive environment online. Here’s how the Real Virtual Beauty coalition will change the game.

A diverse group of four women alongside their computer-generated avatars – video game characters designed to look like them.

Around the world, 1.3 billion women play video games. Yet despite the fact women comprise almost half the global gaming community, new research from Dove shows that 73% of girl gamers believe lack of diversity is an issue in games.

The brand’s study also reports that 60% of girls feel the current lack of diversity in avatars and characters has a negative effect on their self-esteem, and 74% wish women characters in video games looked more like women in real life.[a]

That’s why together with activist organisation Women in Games and Epic Games’s Unreal Engine – the powerhouse behind some of the biggest games in the industry – Dove is announcing Real Virtual Beauty. It’s a first-of-its-kind coalition to encourage developers to create a healthier, more diverse representation of women and girls in games, worldwide. To paraphrase a line from its new campaign: Player One shouldn’t always have to be size zero.

Training and tools to tackle unconscious bias

To support this ambition, Dove and its partners are launching the Real Beauty in Games training programme. It’s an online, accredited course to educate designers, creators and moderators about the beauty and diversity issues in gaming, and how to avoid unconscious bias across the stages of avatar and character development.

The course includes modules from the Dove Self-Esteem Project, the Centre for Appearance Research and industry experts. The training will be available in November on the Unreal Engine Education platform and be accessible to all gaming creators and developers around the world.

The coalition and accredited training programme are part of several collaborative efforts that hope to galvanise industry innovators who have the power to drive change, giving them the tools and skills they need today, to help build a more inclusive virtual world now and in years to come.

Progress needs to be accelerated to challenge the narrow definitions of beauty still visible among many characters and avatars.

Leandro Barreto, Dove Global Vice President

“Dove believes that beauty should be a source of confidence, not anxiety, in every aspect of life, both real and virtual. Although the gaming industry has started to make significant strides in cultural and diverse representation over the last few years, progress needs to be accelerated to challenge the narrow definitions of beauty still visible among many characters and avatars,” says Leandro Barreto, Dove Global Vice President.

“Through our work with Epic Games’s Unreal Engine and Women in Games, the Real Virtual Beauty coalition will help lay the groundwork in addressing issues around representation, offering women and girl gamers around the world the opportunity to become part of the change,” he adds.

Participants who have completed the course will have the opportunity to showcase their final works through the launch of an online Real Virtual Beauty character gallery – curated by Dove and available on Epic Games’s Art Station – helping raise the standard for the authentic, diverse and inclusive representation of women and girls across the games world.

Representation on Roblox

The Dove Self-Esteem Project has also launched Super U Story – the world’s first video game designed to build kids’ self-esteem, available now to play on Roblox.

The game, developed in partnership with female-led gaming studio Toya and experts from the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR), is designed to equip girls with the tools to handle negative messages around body image, offering an educational gaming experience that encourages users to be their true selves instead of aspiring to unrealistic gaming ideals.

Super U Story centres on The Academy – a school for kids with superpowers – that is under siege by a group of rogue students who thrive on spreading negativity. The mission is to help players find their unique superpower of flight, fire, water or speed, to dodge and destroy the poisonous negativity to help save The Academy from being destroyed. Players can customise their own avatars, allowing them to experience a more realistic version of beauty and team up with friends to explore the Academy, earn power-ups and complete quests. ​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​“Together we can change the game”

Leandro explains: “A digital version of beauty is starting to exist and when young girls see unrealistic gaming ideals, research has shown this can have a damaging impact on their self-esteem. This is why we are working side by side with partners to take the Dove Self-Esteem Project to the next level, introducing new tools that enable us to reach even more young girls with content that not only educates but also entertains.

A digital version of beauty is starting to exist and when young girls see unrealistic gaming ideals, research has shown this can have a damaging impact on their self-esteem.

Leandro Barreto, Dove Global Vice President.

“By partnering with Toya, CAR and the Dove Youth Board, we are able to create new ways to make a real impact towards our mission of helping build positive body confidence and self-esteem in young girls. Together we can change the game,” he adds.

Since 2004, Dove has become the largest self-esteem education provider in the world, offering no-cost, academically validated tools to parents, teachers, mentors and kids. To date, Dove has reached more than 82 million young people globally across 150 countries with the Dove Self-Esteem Project – and aims to reach 250 million by 2030.

Super U Story is free and available now on Roblox only across PC, Mac, iOS, Amazon Fire, Android and Xbox One. Scan the QR code below to download Super U Story today.

A scannable QR code which allows users to download Dove’s Super U Story Roblox game

Visit to find out more about Real Virtual Beauty.


Source: Dove survey in US and Canada, Edelman Intelligence 2021


Source: Digital 2022 Global Overview Report from We Are Social/Hootsuite 2022

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