Body Image and Self Esteem for Girls

This post features a great video that talks about body image and self esteem for girls. A teenager named Jackie Dunnett put this video together as a project for a 10th grade English class.

We applaud Jackie for creating this video and sharing it with others by posting it on YouTube.

The video shows several images of scantily clad women to make the point that we are bombarded with this stuff in all kinds of media and that it has a negative effect on the body image and self esteem of girls.

The main parts of the video convey some very important messages that are worth paying attention to.

We tend to compare ourselves to the images we see on TV and in other media – and this is even more so for young girls. Based on what is presented in the media, girls think they should be tall, thin, tan, busty and blemish-free.

It’s no wonder that body image and self esteem for girls is so completely out of whack!

There is one thing in the video that we feel should be clarified. The video states that diet related products are a $33 billion a year company. We believe this should refer to the entire diet product industry, not just one company.

At the 7:05 mark of the video, there is a flow chart that outlines the different things that can happen when young girls start to aspire to the media’s false perception of beauty. We strongly encourage you to take a look at that flow chart to see the things that young girls are at risk of.

Girls grow up seeing the bodies of models and Barbie dolls and start thinking they want to look just like that. That is not a realistic body image.

One part of the video talks about when researchers generated a computer model of a woman with the same proportions as a Barbie doll. For one thing, a woman with those proportions would have a back too weak to support her body. Other startling findings can be seen starting at 4:48 of the video.

Did you know this about body image and self esteem for girls?

  • The average model weighs 23% less than women who are considered to be at a normal,
        healthy weight.
  • 81% of girls under the age of 10 are afraid they are, or will be, “fat” when in reality,
        what they see as “fat” is actually closer to normal than they realize.
  • One-half of 4th grade girls are on a diet and 42% of them want to be thinner.
  • 80% of teen girls are dissatisfied with their appearance.
  • 35,000 girls suffer from anorexia each year.
        10,000 will not survive.
  • 15% of girls will suffer from depression before reaching adulthood.
        4% will commit suicide.
  • The false perceptions of beauty presented in the media create anxiety
        for almost 87% of teen girls.

How can this be stopped?

In our opinion, the media (TV ads and shows, magazine ads, billboards and so forth) needs to send more positive messages regarding what real beauty is all about.

Also, parents and teachers should be more proactive about sending messages similar to this one:
“Hey girls… please understand that is okay to accept yourself for who you are – not who or what the media says you should be.”

We are glad when we see things such as The Dove® Campaign for Real Beauty.

Dove® certainly deserves praise for their efforts to widen the definition of beauty and for establishing The Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem (click link and scroll to bottom of that page).

We strongly feel that society as a whole should support and encourage more things like this.

body image and self esteemYoung girls need to hear messages such as “You Are Beautiful!” and repeat it to themselves as a positive affirmation (I Am Beautiful) to help boost their body image and self esteem.

Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes as well as skin tones. Beauty is NOT a certain dress size or a number on a scale.

Compiling this information on body image and self esteem for girls was a real eye-opener.

We hope that more and more people will join the push to get all types of media to show a more realistic body image and to promote a positive message about real beauty.

Other sites with information about self esteem...

Psychology Today . . . Basics of Self Esteem
Self Esteem And Positive Self Image
Building Self-Esteem: A Self-Help Guide

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