Steven Universe Teams with Dove to Boost Kids' Confidence

3 Apr 2018 - By TW Staff

Cartoon Network's Steven Universe announced a two-year global partnership with Dove this morning, the goal of which is to educate young people on body confidence through the cartoon’s themes of inclusivity and empowerment, conveyed through its world and characters. The initiative reaches children directly in a medium they know and love, something that has never been done before.

This pioneering collaboration comes from the Dove Self-Esteem Project, which has been helping young people build self-esteem and body confidence through educational programs since 2004. The project is based on the knowledge that over half of girls do not have high body confidence, leading them to avoid spending time with friends and family, put their health at risk and opt-out of important life events. The Dove Self-Esteem Project exists in 140 countries around the world and is committed to reaching 40 million young people by 2020 through its existing educational programs; and with the help of Steven Universe, will now reach 20 million more.

The partnership comes to life in a series of six short, animated films directed by Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar, the first of which premieres today (you can see it above). Working with the Dove Self-Esteem Project, all content has been carefully co-created and grounded in scientific evidence by body image expert Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs—at the University of the West of England's Centre for Appearance Research— and geared to making a meaningful impact on a young person’s self-esteem and body confidence.

"Cartoons are a powerful medium when it comes to empathy and understanding, which is why my team and I take great care with Steven Universe to reflect real issues that affect our audience," said series creator Sugar. "I'm grateful that I will have access to a plethora of research on body image and mental health thanks to this partnership with the Dove Self-Esteem Project. This is an issue I have struggled with personally and I hope this will be a chance to amplify positive messages about self-awareness and acceptance."

"It has always been important to us that our content resonates with our audience and empowers them," said Christina Miller, president, Cartoon Network. "This partnership is unprecedented in its scale, reach and ambition to make a difference in kids lives around the world."

Stay tuned throughout the year for more short films from Rebecca Sugar and the Dove Self-Esteem Project.