Pressure of unachievable beauty standards, threatening long term
potential, starts in girls as young as nine
TORONTO, Nov. 12, 2013 /CNW/ - From the overt body shaming of Hollywood
actors like Jennifer Lawrence and Lena Dunham, to the impossible
standards set by photoshopped images in magazines, the pressure for
perfection is undeniable. A new study from the Canadian Women's
Foundation reveals that Canadian girls are the latest casualties of a
culture that continues to erode the female gender's self-esteem by
promoting an image of beauty that is unrealistic. Girls between the
ages of nine and 16 face body shaming and lack of confidence at more
than double the rate of young boys. One-in-five Canadians (21 per cent)
know a girl who says she's fat and an almost equal amount (18 per cent)
know one who says she's on a diet. Respectively, only 8 per cent and 5
per cent know boys who say this.
"The bigger problem here is that the negative and long term effects of
body shaming are well documented," says Beth Malcolm, Director Girls'
Fund, Canadian Women's Foundation. "Body shaming diminishes
self-confidence, decision making and the long term potential of
Canadian girls. It prioritizes outward appearance, rather than what's
truly important - curiosity, courage, and confidence. Today it is more
critical than ever that Canadians continue to nurture resilience in
The study also found that 17 per cent of Canadians know a girl who
thinks she is ugly, compared to only 7 per cent of Canadians who know a
boy that feels this way.
"This artificial image of beauty for women - thin, beautiful and always
sexually available - is having a negative impact on girls," adds Ms.
Malcolm. "Girls at a younger and younger age are holding themselves up
to an artificial and unachievable standard of beauty. These new
insights amplify the importance of teaching our girls the thinking
skills required to evaluate the images they see in advertising every
day with a well-informed, critical eye. At the same time adults need to
model the traits and behaviours that will help girls build confidence
Nurturing Resilience: Top 7 DOs and DON'Ts!
DON'T bite your tongue.
If people say things you disagree with or treat you in a disrespectful
way, speak up. She needs to know it's okay to stand up for herself,
even at the risk of hurting someone's feelings or causing disagreement.
DON'T talk about how fat you look.
Never criticize your appearance in front of her or make negative
comments about the way she or other females look. Let her know you
value people's inner qualities - like curiosity and courage - more than
DON'T put yourself down.
Never make jokes about how incompetent you are, or make light of your
own skills and abilities. She will learn to minimize her own
accomplishments and may lower her future ambitions.
Nurturing Resilience In Young Girls
DO let her lead.
When choosing school or social activities, ask her opinion and provide
genuine choice. Rather than saying, "Do you want to take dance or
singing?" ask open-ended questions like, "What interests you these
DO let her take risks.
Assuming her physical or mental health isn't at stake, try not to be
over-protective. Don't rob her of the chance to be accountable for her
own decisions and to learn from her own mistakes. If she fails,
congratulate her for trying but don't rescue her.
DO validate her experience.
If she has 'negative' feelings or is having problems with her friends,
don't say "It's not that bad" or try to cheer her up. Listen with
respect, acknowledge that things sound difficult, and ask if there is
anything you can do. Don't pressure her to talk when she doesn't want
to. Instead, find lighthearted ways to strengthen your connection with
her, like going for a walk or bike ride. If she is having problems with
friends, encourage her to think more critically about the situation;
suggest she pretend she is watching the conflict on TV or in a movie;
what motivations and solutions does she see? If she is in genuine
distress, get outside help.
DO provide fair and consistent structure.
Presented in the spirit of love and caring, rules help young people feel
protected and connected. Adolescents are less likely to engage in
problem behaviours when adults know what they're doing, and who they're
with. Set clear expectations for behaviour related to attending school,
doing homework, sharing chores, and abiding by curfews.
From September 10th to September 11th 2013 an online survey was
conducted among 1,002 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus
Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling
variability—is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been
statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region
(and in Quebec language). Census data to ensure a sample representative
of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between
totals are due to rounding.
For more information, you can visit the Canadian Women's Foundation
online at www.canadianwomen.org or tweet using hashtag #cdnwomen.
Nurture resilience in girls in a culture promoting artificial image of
beauty: Top 7 Dos & Don'ts @cdnwomenfdn http://bit.ly/1bouxgW
21% of Cnds know a girl who thinks she's ugly. Help girls build
self-confidence: 7 DO's and DON'Ts @cdnwomenfdn http://bit.ly/1bouxgW
Fake magazines images = unrealistic images of beauty. Nurture girl's
resilience: 7 Do's & Don'ts @cdnwomenfdn http://bit.ly/1bouxgW
Body shaming diminishes girl's self-confidence. Teach girls how to
evaluate images in ads @cdnwomenfdn http://bit.ly/1bouxgW
More than ¼ Cnd girls know a girl that thinks she's fat. Nurture
resilience in girls: DOs & DON'Ts @cdnwomenfdn http://bit.ly/1bouxgW
Fake images of beauty negatively impact girls. TOP 7 DOs & DON'Ts to
nurture girls' resilience @cdnwomenfdn http://bit.ly/1bouxgW
Help Canadian girls oppose the culture of body shaming that prioritizes
outward appearance @cdnwomenfdn http://bit.ly/1bouxgW
Teach girls thinking skills to evaluate ad images. Top 7 DOs and DON'Ts
to building resilient girls @cdnwomenfdn http://bit.ly/1bouxgW
7 DOs & DON'Ts to nurturing resilience in girls. Help girls overcome
beauty standards set by Hollywood @cdnwomenfdn http://bit.ly/1bouxgW
Cnd girls 9-16 have double the rate of young boys with issues of body
shaming and lack of confidence @cdnwomenfdn http://bit.ly/1bouxgW
Are all women thin, beautiful and sexually available? Teach girls 9-16
the truth about magazine ads @cdnwomenfdn http://bit.ly/1bouxgW
Pressures of unachievable beauty standards, threatens long term
potential of Cnd girls as young as 9 @cdnwomenfdn http://bit.ly/1bouxgW
About Canadian Women's Foundation
The Canadian Women's Foundation is Canada's public foundation for women
and girls. We empower women and girls in Canada to move out of
violence, out of poverty and into confidence. Since 1991, we've raised
money and invested in over 1,300 community programs across Canada, and
are now one of the ten largest women's foundations in the world. We
take a positive approach to address root causes of the most critical
issues facing women and girls. We study and share the best ways to
create long-term change and bring community organizations together for
training and to learn from each other. We carefully select and fund the
programs with the strongest outcomes and regularly evaluate their work.
We have a special focus on building a community of women helping other
women. Helping women creates safer families and communities, and a more
prosperous society for all of us. We invest in the power of women and
the dreams of girls. For more information please visit www.canadianwomen.org
Editors Note: When referring to the Canadian Women's Foundation, please use the full
name. Please do not abbreviate or use acronyms.
SOURCE: Canadian Women's Foundation
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