New Survey Reveals 70% of Women Have Been Labeled by a Stereotype as Young as 10 Years Old

A new Global Survey by Gillette Venus reveals that most women around the world (70%) have felt labeled by others. Those labels can be assigned as young as 10 years old and nearly half of those surveyed say those labels have had a negative effect on their lives (43%). Despite the advances of women in the work place and home, the survey shows that girls still feel being labeled affects their self-perception and life choices.

Key Survey Findings
The Global Labels Survey conducted by Wakefield Research for Gillette Venus also uncovered:

  • Labeling/Stereotyping starts young and in school: The majority of women (70%) surveyed around the world first felt constrained by stereotypes or labels as early as 10 years old, reporting their classmates as the top group of people (67%) who have given them a label
  • Women who’ve been labeled before more frequently label others: More women frequently label others who have been labeled themselves (62%) vs. women who have never been labeled (34%)

In response Gillette Venus – the world leader in female shaving – is launching today the “Use Your And” campaign to inspire women and girls to stand-up against one-dimensional labels, encouraging them to #UseYourAnd and unleash the innate potential inside all women.

Also the video “AND Stand” was released to spark a global conversation and inspire women to use their ANDs – all of the qualities, attributes and characteristics that make a woman who she is. The video features real women telling personal stories of lost potential stemming from labels, set against a re-mastered recording of the iconic ‘She’s Got It’ song.

“We created this campaign based on what we were hearing from women. They feel that beauty brands tend to focus only on singular dimensions of women - either Super Model or Super Mom - when, in fact, most women are a fabulous mix of everything in between,” said Charlene Patten, Gillette Venus Global Brand Franchise Leader. “Women are limited by one-dimensional labels from a very young age, which leads to significant loss of potential. For example, if she’s labeled pretty, it is assumed she can’t be smart so she behaves accordingly. At Gillette Venus, we believe that all women have the right to achieve their full potential by embracing their ‘ANDs’ and not be limited by any ‘ORs’,” said Patten.

Gillette Venus is partnering with Claudia Chan, Founder of S.H.E. Summit Global Conference & Women’s Empowerment Expert, to educate women in identifying their stereotypical labels and support them to use their ANDs. Claudia's expertise lies in making empowerment and mentorship available to all women with the belief that if women realize their potential, they will change the world. Women can visit to access Claudia’s exclusive tips, tools and advice.

"Words are powerful and that’s why I’m so excited to partner with Gillette Venus to eliminate stereotypes and single-minded labels and help women realize their personal potential," said Chan. "The first step is to help women become aware of how they might have been labeled in different life phases, and how that may have limited them. In my work, women around the world have shared with me how they have been held back in their career or overall confidence, and often the limiting factor was a label they received as a young girl.”

Through the “Use Your And” campaign, Gillette Venus invites women and girls to recognize their potential and embrace their unique and extraordinary qualities. Several social media executions will enable women to share stories on how they #UseYourAnd and the way they stand against labels that limit their potential to inspire others across the globe.

How Parents Can Talk To Daughters to Help Avoid Labels & Embrace Their ANDs
To help your daughters avoid the negative impact of one-dimensional labels and realize her true potential, here are 5 pieces of advice to help them instead embrace their “ANDs”: 

  1. Have the Conversation: Your daughter cannot protect herself from what she isn’t aware of. As she grows up, friends, teachers, siblings and even you as her parent, may label her without realizing its limiting effects. Find the time to explain to her how common this is so she can catch it when it happens and approach the labels with curiosity, not acceptance. Ask her what her labels might be and how they make her feel. Ask why certain words make her feel good, while others make her feel self-conscious, confused or other emotions. Is she associating with certain words based on who she knows at school or on television? Emphasize that everyone has multiple characteristics and she should acknowledge the ones that make her feel positive about herself and curious about her life. If questionable words come up, find out where that’s coming from to undo the label or shift it to a confidence building one. For example, you can explain the differences between “assertive” vs. “aggressive.” Explain that these nouns and adjectives will evolve as she grows older, and that it is a self-learning process to keep her open to possibilities. Schedule the time now to have this important conversation; it can transform her future. 
  2. Be ‘askable’ and a great listener: The best step to cultivating authentic communication with your daughter is to be open to what she has to say. This means letting go of judgment around the issues and statements your daughter may bring up to you. Emotions often overrule empathy because parents care so much. Try to remember to RECEIVE what she is saying first so you can digest it and then thoughtfully react. By doing so, you create space and trust for her to come to you to share her concerns. 
  3. Encourage Journaling: It’s extremely beneficial to write things down, or else ideas and thoughts can be lost. Encourage your daughter to start journaling her passions, interests, curiosities, dreams -- as well as her fears and insecurities -- from a young age. Explain to her what “values” are and that she is defining her own through journaling. This practice will give her courage to believe she can be and do anything in her life. 
  4. Be a role model and express your ANDs: As a parent, your daughter looks to you for 
    inspiration, example and mentorship. Reflect on any labels you may allow yourself to be boxed into, how you label yourself and statements you make about yourself around her. Your daughter can adopt these habits and not even realize she is doing so. You can even share a story of how you defied a label to embrace a new AND. Maybe you were labeled as the quiet one, but ended up building a successful career based on your vocal skills. Or you can share a history of your ANDs and how they changed throughout your journey from high school, college, before you had her to now. One of my favorite quotes is “we cannot be what we cannot see.” By learning more about her mother’s multiple qualities and journey to embrace her full potential, she can feel more ready to embrace her own. 
  5. Act on teachable moments: All around us, there are case studies offering parents the 
    opportunity to teach their children the effects of lost potential due to stereotypical labeling. Just look at the news, pop culture or, even closer, in your daughter’s school yard or lunchroom, for examples of girls being called names. These could put them to being boxed-in to the stereotypical assumptions assigned to those names. Encourage your daughter to share with you any instances she notices, whether in pop culture or in her own life and ask her questions about it. It may be hard for her to see a situation that she is personally in, so using outside examples may better help her to understand the negative impact of labels on girls and women, so she can become more conscious of the issue.