It’s not easy being a girl — or a mom — in the age of the selfie.
A survey of 2,400 moms and more than 11,500 girls tried to find out what they think about body image and appearance.
The pressure to be pretty
The survey, by KidsHealth.org and Discovery Girls Magazine, found that half of moms and girls say they don’t like how they look in a selfie. However, most daughters surveyed think their moms are beautiful, even though girls struggle with their own appearance.
Giving the right messages to girls starting at an early age can help support positive body image and self-acceptance.
In the survey, girls 13 and older were more likely to say they didn’t like their looks and to be preoccupied with the subject. For instance, 63% think about their appearance constantly or many times a day vs. 55% for younger girls. Only 36% of older girls consider themselves pretty/beautiful, compared with 41% of younger girls. And 63% of older girls worry about weight compared with 53% of younger girls.
This suggests that dissatisfaction/preoccupation with appearance increases as girls mature into teens. But moms are in a unique position to help girls like their looks and take good care of their bodies.
“Girls who know they are pretty, just as they are, can feel the easy confidence that comes with self-acceptance,” says D’Arcy Lyness, PhD, behavioral health editor for KidsHealth.org. “Impossible standards just tear us down, making us focus on flaws and making it hard to accept and love ourselves. This blocks us from doing and being our best.”