Amelia - possess Your beauty
Body image issues is highly common among young girls. It is in many cases followed by unnecessary dieting and bad impact on the self image. In worst case the girls low body image is one of the factors leading to eating disorders and deep depressions.
With this in mind, the service brand AMELIA was developed. The brand and the service aims to protect girls between 12 and 15 against harmful appearance pressure by educating them, raise their awareness and contribute with attitudes about beauty and beauty ideals. It also teaches them to manage their natural interest in their appearance in a healthy and less harmful way.
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analysis, sketches and decisions
During the process, I struggled a lot with finding an effective and realistic solution. One of the questions i worked a lot with, was the credibility-question - if a stranger adult, teacher or parent came and told them to be satisfied with them selves, and that appearance don't matter, would they listen? And how could that make an impact compared to the influence of the beauty and fashion industry? I can nor imagine every 14-year-old girl being "political rebels" and deplore fashion, shopping centers and advertisements. I found a lack of a strong, appealing second option attitude system beside the "anti-fashion" available to the young girls.
I compared with how the work around alcohol is done. It gave me a lot of inspiration, and also made the debate around beauty pressure seem oversimplified. In the alcohol educational work towards society and youths, there is a lot of communication of "healthy attitudes" towards alcohol, partying and against drinking pressure. To build up an equivalent to that in regards to the beauty-problem, might be more effective. And, if that equivalent is somewhere between "anti" and the beauty/fashion industry (which they seem closer to today) it might be easier for the youths to absorb it and make it their own. This will probably not make "everything" in regards to this okay, but realistically make it healthier and easier than today.
I wanted to create the basis for a strong, so-called symbolic positioned brand, which is a brand the users identify and engage with. By believing in the brands philosophy and values, they might have a better shelter against beauty pressure.
As a symbolic brand, AMELIA can give social identity and self-realization like "us young girls who are enlightened, independent, happy with our own bodies, relaxed about appearance, but likes to dress up when we want."
Through the philosophy, which is the foundation for everything the brand do, I tried to address problems around the unrealistic and narrow beauty ideals no one lives up to, photo retouching, focus on all the negative with your own appearance and body, comparison with others, and the far to large focus on appearance. The philosophy includes the old cliché about "everyone is beautiful", but I have tried to build on it and give it more content, to make it easier to "believe".
I think it is too much to ask 14-year-old girls to not care about appearance. It seems like mankind has thought about appearance since early civilization, if not before, but how large focus it has been on it, and beauty ideals, has varied a lot from time to time and culture to culture.
With this as a backdrop, I came to a maybe experimental view, which might opens new possibilities; the problem is not that they are aware of appearance, but the attitudes, feelings and ideals which follows this today.
Therefore, you might get a long way by trying to change the way they care about their appearance. There is a possibility of using the "learning by doing" principle, and by doing traditional "beauty activities" with them change their associations and patterns of thought in situations they might feel dissatisfaction. (This might send out the wrong signals, and I feel it would need professional tests and research to ensure it is the right thing to do). And of course at the same time relieve the press created by media, give them realistic and far more diversity of beauty ideals easier to live up to, and help to create satisfaction with their body. Plus having a role model they feel know a lot about beauty to tell them that they actually can relax about this, and put it in perspective to see that a other things matter more than beauty.
I also think that by doing the working with body image to a good experience, the girls will might be more open and remember it for longer.
The signature photo's of the brand should pinpoint photo retouching, since photo retouching is the prime example used in discussion of beauty pressure. This is placing AMELIA in the category of organizations working for better body image among girls. Thinking of "girl power", colors and the typography combination were picked to give a strong but feminine impression. At the same time it was important to give a fresh and trendy look, to avoid the "governmental initiatives for youth look". The slogan "your beauty" conveys one of the core elements of the philosophy; it's not about trying to look like someone else, but appreciate and emphasize your own beauty. The service brand was named after Amelia Earhart, a famous female pilot and women's rights activist.
The core offering is the Amelia - evening, where an Amelia - stylist trained by a psychologist comes to an happening. In example, the parents book Amelia to come a birthday. During the evening she educate them about the retouched, distorted beauty and selling tricks in media / commercials, and how you can see through it. She shows the beauty ideals in different cultures, proves that there are many different ways of being beautiful, and help them reflect about what kind of beauty ideal they want to follow. They also talk about being satisfied with your body, and what you can do to be more found of it. Further on, she helps them to figure out what the girls like the most about them selves, both in regards to appearance and personal qualities, and how to express that. When doing make up, they talk about make up pressure, and how appearance changes like make up or new clothes is fun, but not make you any different or make something else in your life work better. She also put focus on appearance in perspective, by helping the girls reflect on what other things is more important. They also talk about how to talk about others appearance, and what to say to friends witch express dissatisfaction with their bodies. At the end, she gives them the "Amelia-mirror" (explained bellow), informs about their Facebook page and blog where they post entries on topics in the Amelia concept. She also tells them who they can talk to and where to get help if they feel dissatisfaction with them selves are pulling them down.
The image above shows three of the most important touchpoints: The mirror, which they get at the end of the Amelia - evening, is blurred on the second half. The print on the clear one says "self critical?". The text on the blurred half says "others don't see the details", illustrating that others see the large picture, not the tiny details of the skin many girls stress about. The Facebook page, blog and webpage are important to be a part of the girls life longer than the Amelia - evening, thus increase the chance of making an impact.
Thanks to Pernille Nygård for help with photo and acting Amelia-girl. Also thanks to the actress girls.