Dove has forged a two-year global partnership with Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe to educate young people on self-esteem and body confidence, said Dove on Wednesday.

The partnership will reach young people through the program’s focus on inclusivity and empowerment. Steven Universe is Cartoon Network’s first animated show created and produced by a woman, Rebecca Sugar. It tells the story of a young woman’s relationship with her younger brother, Steven.

“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 Sugar in a statement. “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.”

Sugar is directing six short animated films, with the first one included above, that include content grounded in scientific research around body image. Dove, Sugar and Steven Universe are working with Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs at the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of West England to help craft the videos’ messages of body confidence and self-esteem.

Later this year, Sugar and her team will produce an original song featuring the show’s cast and an accompanying music video, as well as an educational eBook.

The collaboration is being driven by the Dove Self-Esteem Project, which has been helping young people build self-esteem and body confidence since 2004. According to Dove, more than half of girls do not have high body confidence, which leads them to avoid spending time with friends and family, to put their health at risk and to opt out of important life events.

“Since 2004, through the Dove Self-Esteem Project, we have been providing young people with the tools and resources they need to develop body confidence and self-esteem so they can fully participate in life and reach their full potential,” says Sophie Galvani, Dove Global Vice President. “We are passionate about evolving the types of messages the next generation are receiving through media, which is why we are working side by side with partners to take the program to the next level. We are introducing new tools to enable us to reach even more young people with content that not only educates but also entertains. By partnering with Cartoon Network and Rebecca Sugar, we are able to create new ways to make a real impact towards our mission of helping young people build positive body confidence and self-esteem.”

The Dove Self-Esteem Project exists in 140 countries around the world and is committed to reaching 40 million young people by 2020. The partnership with Steven Universe will help it reach 20 million more.

“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.”

Tags: cartoon network dove rebecca sugar steven universe

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