Body Image Pressure? No Thanks!
Young Women: Body Image Pressure
Where are the days where a little girl’s biggest dream was just to be a princess? Back then, simply wearing a piece of material that looked something like a Snow White cape was good enough. But not in today’s world, oh no, now they want the whole enchilada!
The worry is, we are not not only talking about the beautiful sparkly dresses. Instead, they are aware of everything from the skin-tone, makeup and even body shape of their idols. And it seems to be starting with younger and younger girls.
My question is, why are young girls so body conscious? These are supposed to be the carefree, fun years. Their time to simply enjoy life, play with toys, and insist that boys “drool”.
Do I have rose-tinted glasses on when I look back and think that times were different back then? Whatever the case, today, girls feel body conscious from a very young age.
Why Are Young Girls So Body Conscious?
Let’s not pretend that media doesn’t play a part in this. Girls are under so much pressure and research from the UK Girl Guides, has found that some girls as young as seven want to lose weight!
The problem is that media portrayed the image of perfection is used as a guide-stick for a successful life from an impressionable age, and other traits are undervalued. When coupled with the peer pressure and cat-iness often seen in teenage girls groups, it can all become too much.
The effect that media has on young ladies is staggering!
- A study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood institute found that in a survey of girls 9-10 years old, a whopping 40% have tried to lose weight!
- In a study on fifth graders (aged 10), both girls and boys told researchers they were dissatisfied with their own bodies after watching a music video by Britney Spears or even just a clip from the TV show “Friends”. This shows just how vulnerable young people are!
- Don’t all young women love teen girl magazines? Well, one in every three of the articles in those magazines focus on appearance, and 50% of the advertisements use body image and beauty to market their products.
It is no wonder that young girls are struggling when faced with so much at a time when their bodies and hormones are going crazy.
How To Motivate Young Women
Okay ladies, let us start with our biggest fear….…. the scales!
It is time to confront this if we want to have a positive impact on the lives of the young women around us. We can see the negative effects of the media on the young women around us, so our first job is to become immune to those images ourselves, and that means embracing who we are. We can be the role models that the young women need so desperately. It isn’t easy, but it is possible.
We can show them that we can look fabulous and have fun portraying our unique-ness no matter how our body is shaped.
Here are a few quotes from some of our favourite celebrities to get you started feeling good. Because that is the most important thing, I really want you to feel happy in your skin.
“You have to stand up and say, ‘there’s nothing wrong with me or my shape or who I am; you’re the one with the problem!”- Jennifer Lopez
“My limbs work, so I’m not going to complain about the way my body is shaped.” – Drew Barrymore
“I think it’s so important for girls to love themselves and to treat their bodies respectfully.” – Ariana Grande
“Everyone tries to look a cookie-cutter kind of way, and actually the people who look different are the ones who get picked up.” – Meryl Streep
“I might have a little bit of cellulite. I might not be toned everywhere. But accepting that just empowers me” – Kim Kardashian West
“One day I had to sit down with myself and decide that I loved myself no matter what my body looked like and what other people thought about my body.”- Gabourey Sidibe
Very inspiring words, from these lovely ladies, don’t you think? They are comfortable in their own skin and absolutely love who they are! That is how we should aim to be everyday! Confidence is the way to go!
Don’t Over Motivate
If you have young women in your life, it is vital that you help them to love themselves. Just remember, young women are already under huge pressure, so don’t push them too hard, as that can also have a negative impact. Listen, don’t preach and show them that you are there for support, not judgement.
It is easy to forget, but there is so much more to life that the amount of jiggle on a tummy or the presence of a thigh gap. Lead by example and show them how much you can enjoy life. As Audrey Hepburn says, happy girls are the prettiest ones. You can look amazing, even if you don’t look like the girls on the posters (and we know they have been airbrushed like mad – but that’s another story).
So hold your head up high, have fun with your life, with your clothes and smile. You can be the start of a ripple effect that will change the world.