Let’s Talk: Teenage Girls and Self-Esteem
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By Cascia Talbert
Dove® research shows that it is still important for us to address girls’ anxiety about looks, as there is a universal increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls’ confidence as they grow older. Key findings from our latest research include:
• Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004)
• Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves
• 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful
• 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty
• More than half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic
SOURCE: Dove Research: The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited
I was alarmed at these statistics so I decided to sit down with my beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Courtney to discuss self esteem in girls her age.
Six out of ten girls stop doing what they love because they feel bad about their looks. How important is self esteem to you?
Courtney: “Feeling good about myself is very important. When I am happy the people I am around are happy too.”
What do you do to help you feel better about yourself?
Courtney: “When I am feeling down [about my looks] sometimes I will polish my nails or wear a little bit of make-up.”
Do you think our culture puts more emphasis on outer beauty and less on inner beauty?
Courtney: “Yes. Magazines have tons of photos of supermodels and actresses in them. When teenage girls see these images they believe that they have to look like that. The editors use computer programs like photo shop to alter the photos so the women look fake. Nobody can really look like that.”
Why do you think girls your age do not like their looks?
Courtney: “They see all the ideals in magazines, television and the movies, all the famous people and they want to be the ideal. I think it is stupid and impossible for young girls to achieve this ideal look. It is also unhealthy. Some of the girls in magazines are way too thin.”
Do you have any advice for girls struggling with low self esteem?
Courtney: “Think more about your personality than your looks. You are beautiful on the inside and that is all that really matters.”
What does being beautiful mean to you?
Courtney: “Being who you are. If you accept yourself then you are beautiful.”
You can share your commitment to girls’ self-esteem with your friends on Facebook! Visit Dove’s Facebook Page or use the Send a Note of Confidence Link to select your message and share with your friends. Download the Let’s Talk Toolkit. For more tips on how to improve your self-esteem join in the conversation by following Dove on Twitter.
Created with Jess Weiner, Dove Global Self-Esteem Ambassador, this is a great resource for all women on starting a conversation in a simple way. Ask, Share, Listen and Act — you’ll find unintimidating ways to do make these a natural part of your talk about Self-Esteem.
Cascia Talbert is a busy blogger, publisher, freelance writer, online merchant and mother of five children, living in The Pacific Northwest. With a B.A. in history and law and a passion for writing and staying healthy, she started The Healthy Moms Magazine in 2007. The Healthy Moms Magazine is currently ranked the top health blog for moms and features several health expert writers and mom bloggers. Ms. Talbert believes that if mothers are well educated on health issues and how to stay healthy, they can pass that information down to their children and reverse the childhood obesity statistics in the U.S.
Ms. Talbert is a featured health blogger at Wellsphere.com and her articles can also be found on ezinearticles.com. She also runs the Healthy Moms Social Network on Ning, is the Chief Marketing Officer for Talbert Nutrition LLC, and is on the Social Media Advisory Board for America’s Wellness Challenge. Follow her on Google+.