No little girl goes around thinking to herself "when I grow up I want to feel ugly and spend my days wishing I was invisible!"
And yet so many of us do end up hating the way we look - long before we are adults.
New global research by Dove of women ages 10-64 has found a girl’s inner beauty critic moves in by the time she is 14 years old and continues to erode her self-esteem as she ages. The research suggests, however, that positive role models could help young girls cope with beauty pressures, so they can see beauty as a source of confidence, not anxiety.
The Dove Real Truth About Beauty research found that by the age of 14 more than half (55%) of Canadian girls already feel pressure to be beautiful. By the time they are 29, this number increases to 96%. After the age of 14 girls increasingly become their own worst beauty critic. While only 10% of girls 10-14 put pressure on themselves to be beautiful, this number climbs to 59% of women 18-64. (Dove press release March 23, 2011)
( The Dove Canada Nourish Your Soul retreat group at Canyon Ranch Tucson
- in the back- lovely statue, Cindy, Me, Laurie, Judy, Erica, Diane
- in the front- Markie, Melanie, Jennifer)
While I was on the Dove Canada Nourish Your Soul retreat at the beautiful Canyon Ranch resort we had the chance to sit down and talk about real beauty. Our retreat hosts shared with us some startling stats and I wanted to share them with you today.
DID YOU KNOW:
- Only 2% of women feel comfortable calling themselves beautiful
- One out of every four college women has an eating disorder
- Half of girls avoid certain activities because they feel badly about their looks
- Dissatisfaction with physical appearance causes girls to avoid:
- Physical activities 16%
- Going to school 13%
- Giving an opinion 12%
I know that I fit nicely into those statistics. I remember quitting my dance classes because I was too self-conscious about my body. I also remember avoiding swimming because I hated to wear a bathing suit and I avoiding sports like the plague because they involved running in front of spectators. I wanted nothing more than to disappear and fade into the background and NOT be noticed whenever possible. My goal with my daughter is to help her avoid feeling like I did.
During one of our sessions our facilitator asked us to name one thing we liked about our body. It was SO HARD to do. Then she asked us to partner up and name something we liked about our partners body. It was incredibly easy to do. We are much harsher critics of ourselves than we are of our friends.
And here are just a few more statistics for you:
- 92% of girls want to change something about their physical appearance
- As girls get older they become less likely to refer to themselves as beautiful or confident, and more likely to say they feel pressure to be beautiful
- 59% of girls see their mom as a top role model
- 51% of women and girls say they wished their mom had talked to them more about beauty and body image while they were growing up
Did you catch that one in there that says 59% of girls see their mom as a top role model?
And how about the one that says 51% wish their mom had talked to them more about beauty and body image while they were growing up?
The VAST majority of my blog readers are mamas, just like me... so that means those stats are for us ladies. Lets make sure we talk to our kids (not just our daughters, our sons too) about body image and beauty. Lets make sure we work hard to change the way we see ourselves so we can be a positive role model for our daughters and our sons too!
Be your own kind of beautiful!
And this is from me to all of you....