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Over 80% of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being “fat”
up to 70% of young girls are dissatisfied with parts of their body
and it gets worse…
Only two percent of adult women describe themselves as “beautiful”
Our culture is immersed in a sea of Photoshopped images of unrealistic bodies (see this Dove video). Supermodels and celebrities often go to drastic measures to achieve otherwise unattainable features (1, 2). And it is understandable that these influences would negatively affect our own body images, self esteem, and feelings of self worth.
Poor body image and low self-esteem can contribute to disordered eating habits, substance abuse, bullying, early onset of sexual activity, and obesity (3).
So what exactly is “beauty”?
Merriam-Webster defines beauty as “the quality of being physically attractive.”
That interpretation may soon change.
New York City has announced a city-wide initiative called “The Girl’s Project.” It is designed to help young girls believe that their value comes from their character, skills, and attributes– not their appearance.
The initiative will include public service announcements and advertisements on buses, subways, and phone kiosks featuring real girls who are beautiful just they way that they are.
An evidence-based self-esteem curriculum will expand to up to 200 after school programs in order to boost body image, body satisfaction, and body esteem.
Students in grades K-12 will be offered media literacy classes to help them look critically at the messages about body image and ideas of beauty that are portrayed in the media.
The Girl’s Project promotes healthy eating and activity through body acceptance. If we love our bodies, then we should want to take the best possible care of them. There is no need to focus on achieving certain standards that have been set by others.
These messages are crucial for young girls. But they are important for us adults to remember also.
Beauty is in eye of the beholder. Love yourself. And love your body.
To see the Public Service Announcement (highly recommended), click the image below: