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'Selfie' shows power of moms to influence girls' body image

Feb. 19, 2014 at 10:59 AM ET

Video: A film called “Selfie” is getting a ton of attention after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. For the tenth anniversary of its “Campaign for Real Beauty,” Dove partnered with filmmaker Cynthia Wade and the Sundance Institute, and challenged teen girls and moms to see beauty in a different light.

Turn the camera on yourself and you just might discover a new family picture.

In “Selfie,” a short documentary sponsored by Dove and released Monday at the Sundance Institute's Women at Sundance brunch, teenage girls and their moms are challenged to capture their own natural beauty by taking candid photos of themselves on their smartphones.

#LoveYourSelfie: Show us how you see your beauty

The film also explores how mothers can pass down insecurities to their daughters. Almost three-quarters of girls – 72 percent – said they learn about beauty from their mothers, according to a survey by Dove.

“The selfie on the surface seems really simple but when you think about how many selfies people take and then delete or they filter or they somehow change before they put it out there, I really wanted to explore the honest selfie,” Cynthia Wade, who directed the film, told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie on Wednesday.

“We have the power in our own hands to really redefine beauty.”

The filmmakers asked the participants -- girls attending a high school in Great Barrington, Mass. -- to take selfies that prominently featured what they perceived as their personal physical flaws. One girl listed her round face as a feature that bothered her, while another said she hated her rosy cheeks because people always told her she looks “like a tomato.”

While their moms were taking similar selfies, the girls were shocked to discover they had insecurities of their own.

“It’s really difficult for me to see my mom feel uncomfortable about herself because I think she’s just my biggest role model and the most beautiful person I know,” Harper Gantz said on TODAY.

Her mom, in turn, was surprised by how much she influenced her daughter’s body image.

“Doing this was such an eye opener for me because I always thought that I didn’t pass any of those insecurities on to Harper. In fact, I didn’t even know she knew about them,” Julie Hiam said.

The documentary also captured the friction between a mom who wanted her daughter to wear make-up, while the girl resisted.

“You feel small because I wanted to feel confident without makeup and she was telling me, ‘Why don’t you wear just a little bit?’ And I didn’t want to wear a little bit,” said Chauncia Tucker.

After watching the film, her mom said she has a renewed respect for her daughter’s choice.

“She likes the way that she presents herself to the world and that's something that you have to respect. Now even I've been going outside of the house without make-up,” said Pat Tucker.

Wade hopes the film shows girls -- and their moms -- that they're truly beautiful when they're confident and comfortable in their own skin.

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Send us your selfies using #LoveYourSelfie on Twitter and Facebook and show us how you see your beauty.


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