A clinical research conducted by psychologist Robin F. Goodman found that girls’ self-esteem peaks at 9 years old. Then begins to crash once media, hormones, and peer pressure take it’s toll. According to the NYU Child Study Center, at the age of 15 clinically depressed girl out number boys 2 to 1. At the age of 9 is where half of girls report that having been on a type of diet, by the time they reach 8th grade this increases to 80% of girls. It was said in a Dove campaign that girls who watched TV commercials featuring underweight models lose self-confidence and become more dissatisfied with their own bodies. This is quoting a research conducted at Flinders University in Australia.
It was found at the Girl Scout Research Institute that one-third of all girls in grades 9 to 12 think they are overweight, and 60% are trying to lose weight. More studies from Girls Scouts of the USA show that 57% of girls have fasted, gone on diets, used food substitutes, or smoked cigarettes in attempt to lose weight. It also states that messages girls receive from the media can damage their feelings of self worth and negatively affect their behaviors. More than one in four girls surveyed feel pressure from the media to have a ‘perfect’ body. As a result, girls are beginning to question their own body and 50-70% of girls of healthy/normal weight believe they are overweight. The Dove Campaign, “Negative Feelings About Their Looks Cause Majority of Girls to Disengage From Life” found that more than 90% of girls (15 to 17 years old) want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the highest. From this study, nearly of quarter would consider undergoing plastic surgery and 13% acknowledge having an eating disorder. In the last 20 years, anorexia has doubled along with teen suicide.
Websites supporting pro anorexia, also known as “pro ana”, are where girls go to find others with the same mindset as them. And to fuel their desires to be thin. They deliver various mantras called ‘thinspirations’ and blog about the struggles they have with food on a daily basis. They believe that “nothing tastes as good as being thin feels’ and post pictures of models who severely underweight claiming that this is what true beauty is and being fat is the ultimate form of ugly.
It is up to US to bring awareness to these issues!