Zaya Wade Encourages Teens to Join Dove's #DetoxYourFeed Movement to Help Build Image Positivity

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Photo credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images
Photo credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images

Zaya Wade came out as transgender in 2020. Despite having the love and support of her father, former NBA star Dwyane Wade and stepmom, actress Gabrielle Union, the 14-year-old still experienced adversity. Zaya recently opened up to People about the "hateful" comments she received and what inspired her to join Dove's #DetoxYourFeed movement.

"As a trans person, once I came out, there was a lot of hateful comments about how I should grow my hair out long or fit into a certain version of femininity, even though that's not true at all," Zaya began. "That kind of advice is just trying to break you, but don't let it." Zaya's superstar parents encouraged her to resist "anti-Blackness" and decenter "Eurocentric beauty ideals" as she charted her own journey toward self-discovery and creating her own definition of femininity.

Advice from the Cheaper By the Dozen star inspired the teen to reject outside criticism from naysayers, too. "I don't have to believe everything they say. The only thing I have to believe is what I feel and what beauty means to me," Zaya added. "I think focusing on inner beauty is the most important." Both Zaya and her stepmom joined the Dove Self-Esteem Project, which provides confidence-building education to foster positive body images for 250 million young people by 2030.

No stranger to the pressures of social media, Zaya hopes to inspire other girls and teens to join Dove's #DetoxYourFeed movement. According to the Dove Self-Esteem and Social Media Report, 1 in 2 girls say toxic beauty advice that normalizes unrealistic beauty standards on social media causes low self-esteem. The study found that just 10 minutes of exposure to hashtags like #fitspo and #thinspo leads to lower body confidence, self-esteem, and mood in social media users. #DetoxYourFeed is a four-step process that seeks to encourage new habits and spark change that will empower and uplift teens and inspire them to share with their friends and followers. Dove created a short film with moms and daughters to emphasize the impact of toxic beauty advice online.

"We don't need to follow anyone into feeling unworthy or not beautiful," Zaya stressed. "We have the power over our own feeds to remove the content that doesn't make us feel good and instead flood our feeds with the positivity that we both want to see and put out into the world."

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