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Getting real: beauty standards, social media and self-esteem

Join the Dove Self-Esteem Project and Refinery29 for The Confidence Code – our open and honest interview series about growing up on social media and breaking beauty standards. Read candid conversations between three mother-daughter duos as they get real about building confidence and self-esteem in our digital age.

Dove Getting real: beauty standards, social media and self-esteem
Miah sits down with her mom, Marina, for a candid conversation about living with alopecia, beauty standards and building confidence.

From giving people a platform to speak their minds and being an outlet for self-expression to promoting body positivity, social media has so many positives. But with digital distortion and the comments section at the touch of a button, there’s a negative side to growing up on social media too. Now, young people can be exposed to unrealistic beauty standards and body shaming comments on a daily basis.

Alongside our partner Refinery29, we’re on a mission to empower the current and next generations with positive body confidence, self-esteem and self-love – so they can reach their full potential. In the third and final part of The Confidence Code series, 17-year old Miah Griffith talks to her mom, Marina Daquioag, about how being diagnosed with alopecia impacted her self-esteem and confidence growing up. Hear Miah talk candidly about her experience with body shaming after going bald, redefining beauty in the face of unrealistic beauty standards and what it took for her to finally accept herself with self-love and care.

Read on to hear Miah and Marina’s moving dialogue on the importance of nurturing self-esteem and confidence from an early age, pushing back against negativity online and learning to appreciate what makes you, you.


Miah: “I really withdrew myself from a lot of social activities and events, and from my friends, too. I never wanted to go out. In seventh grade, I wanted to wear wigs to feel normal again, and I didn’t want my classmates to see me without hair — I thought I looked “normal,” but to other kids, they knew. I didn’t want to do anything that would risk my hair accidentally falling off or moving. When it was windy, I’d say I didn’t want to go outside, or I’d pretend to be busy. I didn’t want to be exposed.”

Marina: “I can tell when you’re feeling low. We all cry together. As a mom I felt everything you were feeling. I allowed you to feel those feelings, but I also encouraged you to accept yourself.”

Miah: “I really didn't think my being bald would affect anyone's life. But I get so many DMs and comments from people saying that I've helped their confidence. I've met so many people who have gone through the same thing as me. There are so many different communities and so many people dealing with alopecia and diabetes, and they have all said that I inspire them. I love to post and I love to encourage other people to be comfortable in their skin and to not let their differences hold them back.”

Marina: “I think a lot of people are trying to find themselves on social media. And I really commend them for doing that. Some people can't even post a picture of themselves. I think we’re so conditioned to looking at other people, but we should be encouraging people to learn about themselves. Learn what you love and what you want to do. This is our life, and we have to embrace it and have fun.”

Miah: “Social media can be toxic, especially because it's so much easier to spread hate behind a screen. There will always be people who will comment negative things, and I know that negativity can affect people’s well-being. For me, I love social media, because I'm so much more positive now; my mom has always supported me. Her love has always boosted me.“

Marina: “As a mother, it was my duty, my responsibility to nurture and protect your confidence. I went through a divorce when you were about three years old, and raising my three girls, I felt it was my responsibility to build up their confidence early on. I raised them to be singers. We’re Filipinos and we love singing, and you and your sister used to dance hula in front of hundreds of people every two weekends a month. That was part of your self-confidence journey.”

Miah: “I think beauty is loving who you are as a person, no matter what you look like, no matter what your body size is. We're all human and we're all equal. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. And again, it’s all about having confidence. 

Marina: “It goes back to self-acceptance. It doesn't matter what you think your flaw is, but when you accept that, you're gonna feel so liberated, and I know that's how you are right now because I can see how much you’ve grown.”

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