Body and beauty issues come to girls and women of all shapes and sizes. Middle School and High School can be particularly difficult for girls. Flat-chested, dark frizzy-haired, bucktoothed, and ethnic looking (I was told this), clearly, these were not my best years, especially at a time when blue-eyed-blondes, like Christie Brinkley, Farrah Fawcett and Lauren Hutton, reigned supreme. Regardless of my parents assurances, this is how I saw myself.
In Middle School our bodies are changing and not at the same rate and not necessarily how we’d like. We monitor how we look and are so quick to judge ourselves and others, often harshly, as we compare ourselves to our peers. Instead of focusing on school, sports, future careers, and community service, or constructing their self-worth on accomplishments, many girls are looking in the mirror and basing their identity on what they see or perceive to see.
A friend tells a cute story about her 30 year old son: When he was just a young boy he used to stand in front of the mirror and say how good looking he was. Regardless of how cute a girl is, I don’t think that is something you would ever hear come out of a girl’s mouth. And that comes from much of the conditioning we’ve had for years. But that’s got to stop. The dialogue in our heads and between each other needs to change to one of empowerment. To one of strength and confidence and inner beauty. Those of us with daughters or who are around young girls need to know that girls are watching and learning from us. We need to be good role models. We need to talk. Now is the time to sit down and have that discussion.
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 the latest Dove Research: The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited, 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
How You Can Get Involved
Join women across the county, October 5-7, when Dove will be holding a nationwide rally to talk about beauty, confidence and self-esteem. Commit to talk to the girl in your life during the weekend and beyond – it all starts with a conversation.
If you can’t share over the weekend, any time is a good time to start the conversation.
Not sure where to start? Download the Let’s Talk Toolkit using the provided link. 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.
You can share your commitment to girls’ self-esteem with your friends on Facebook! Visit Dove’s Facebook Page, follow Dove on Twitter or use the Send a Note of Confidence link to select your message and share with your friends.
Have you ever struggled with self-esteem or confidence issues?
Disclosure: This article is sponsored by Dove. All opinions are 100% my own.