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Saudi Arabia: Nine in Ten Women Unhappy with Looks | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Saudi Arabia: Nine in Ten Women Unhappy with Looks

Saudi Arabia: Nine in Ten Women Unhappy with Looks

Saudi Arabia: Nine in Ten Women Unhappy with Looks

Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- I a recent study conducted by Unilever Arabia, nine in 10 Saudi women revealed they are unhappy with their physical appearance. A further 65% of those surveyed admitted to avoiding activities due to feeling self-conscious about their appearance. This prompted the company to launch the “Campaign for Real Beauty”.

The study also showed that 37% of young women, aged between 15 and 17, would consider undergoing plastic surgery in the near future while only 27% of older women agreed, according to Rola Tassabehji, Dove Regional Brand Manager.

The poll further revealed that 63% of Arab women feel threatened by the beauty ideals portrayed in the media, fashion catwalks and the entertainment industry.

Arab men play an important part in influencing women’s self-esteem, by comparing them to models on the cover of magazines and on their television screens, added Ms. Tassabehji. “But a woman can change her man’s opinions and convince him she is beautiful. It depends on how self-confident she is of her looks.”

“The study conducted in the region has revealed that a typical female beauty would be a tall and thin 20s girl, with symmetrical features, made up looks, and long and straight black hair,” or with pale skin and green eyes.

For the first time, a Saudi female is taking part in the ad campaign. Marwa Abdul Jawad, aged 21, lives in London where she is completing a degree in media studies at the American University. With her innocent smile, Marwa’s looks differ from the stereotypical beauty ideal portrayed in the media. A Palestinian and two Lebanese women are also featured in the ads.

Encouraged by her husband and family, Marwa said she took part in the campaign “because I was really excited about the idea behind it”. Her picture appears in several countries around the Persian Gulf but she remains practically unknown in Saudi Arabia .

Beauty salons have become a main attraction on Jeddah’s streets, evidence that Saudi women are concerned with the latest make-up trends and beauty tips. “Dove’s campaign aims to show that real beauty emanates from a woman’s confidence in her beauty”, Marwa said.

The 21-year-old indicated that amongst the foundations of beauty were, “personal cleanliness, taking care of one’s hair, relaxing, exercising, eating a balanced diet and using acceptable make-up”.

Marwa hoped this Awareness campaign would have an effect on Saudi girls and women who feel pressured by society, prompting them to copy the latest trends in make-up and style.