Dove And Shonda Rhimes' #RealBeauty Campaign Continues To Challenge Stereotypes Surrounding Female Beauty

Dove And Shonda Rhimes' #RealBeauty Campaign Continues To Challenge Stereotypes Surrounding Female Beauty

We loved the first of Dove's #RealBeauty short films produced by Shonda Rhimes, which featured Fat Girls Dance founder Cathleen Meredith, and we're pleased to say that the next instalment is here!

The second video, Meet Kylee, which dropped last week, tells the story of Kylee Howell, owner and manager of Friar Tuck's Barbershop, a proudly gender-inclusive space in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Kylee talks about how growing up, she used traditionally feminine styles and kept her hair long to fit in to society. As we all know, teenage years can be both tough and damaging for our future selves whilst we're still trying to work out who we are. During those fragile years, Kylee realised that she wasn't happy pretending to be someone that she wasn't for the sake of what others believed was beautiful.

Howell talked about her experiences with salons and barbershops in her past; how the short barber-style haircut that gave her confidence was refused by women's hair salons, but upon visiting barbershops, she was met with 'men only' signage in windows.

“Looking back at old pictures just kind of reminds me of what it's like to not know yourself,” Howell explains in the latest campaign video. “It wasn't until I cut my hair short that I really felt like I had come into myself [...] I made a choice to be happy. I made a choice to be genuine with who I was.”

Howell's journey of self-discovery through her hair led her to open her barber shop, where she was determined to break the typical gender stereotypes that are often attached to such places. “Barber shops are known to be pretty hyper-masculine places,” she said, talking about starting up Friar Tuck's Barbershop. “I realised there might be room to create a new haircut experience.”

Howell's sexuality is not disclosed in the video, but Dove explained that statistics from their own report, Real Beauty Report: Examining Beauty Standards and Representation of Lesbian and Gay Women, were big drivers behind it. The report showed that three out of four women who identified as gay or lesbian believe that society doesn't care about their beauty, leaving many to feel excluded from both the beauty industry and society's 'spectrum' of beauty itself.

In a blog for Dove, Shonda Rhimes spoke about her inspirations, saying her mission was to '[write] women as we truly are - human'. Talking about Howell, Rhimes considered her a “new friend” and spoke of how “beauty shines through in everything she is and everything she does.”

Talking about the project, Rhimes added: “Every time you look at your screen and see a woman portrayed just as she is, sharing her humanity, being boldly herself, you are looking at someone beautiful.”

We're looking forward to seeing what's next from the #RealBeauty campaign, because it's great to see a project that challenge beauty standards, whether that be those attached to shape and size, race, femininity, race or any other facet of beauty. By celebrating different women, not only are Dove and Rhimes breaking down the stereotypes that surround female beauty, but they're helping other women to explore and discover their own notions of beauty, knowing that they too are worthy of celebration.