All this month I am writing a series of posts on Self Esteem.
Thanks to Dove and their campaign for Real Beauty for investing in this cause, as it is a worthy one.
Self-esteem is our self perception or the collection of beliefs or feelings we have about ourselves How we define ourselves or our self esteem influences our motivations, attitudes, and behaviors and affects our emotional adjustment. Self-esteem is also defined as feelings of capability combined with feelings of being loved.
Patterns of self-esteem start very early in life through milestone experiences earning a sense of accomplishment that bolsters self-esteem.
A Growing Problem
For girls, low self-esteem and a negative body image can start at a young age.
Did you know, that according to the research:
- One-third of all girls in grades nine to 12 think they are overweight, and 60 percent are trying to lose weight.
- Only 56 percent of seventh graders say they like the way they look.
- Studies show that 57 percent of girls have fasted, gone on diets, used food substitutes, or smoked more cigarettes to lose weight.
- Research also shows that messages girls receive from the media can damage their feelings of self-worth and negatively affect their behavior. More than one in four girls surveyed feel the media pressure them to have a perfect body.
- Girls who watch TV commercials featuring underweight models lose self-confidence and become more dissatisfied with their own bodies.
- As a result, girls question their own beauty: between 50 and 70 percent of girls of normal weight believe they are overweight.
“The existing narrow definition of beauty is not only unrealistic and unattainable, but clearly it also creates hang-ups that can lead girls to question their own beauty,” said Philippe Harousseau, U.S. marketing director for Dove. “It’s time to free the next generation from these stereotypes and give girls the tools they need to discover their own definition of beauty.”
How can we, as parents help?
- Watch what you say and how you say it to your kids. Kids are very sensitive to parents’ words. * Remember to use praise and kind words to your child not only for a job well done, but also for effort.
- Be a positive role model.
- Identify and redirect your child’s inaccurate beliefs. I
- Be affectionate with hugs etc.
- Give positive, accurate feedback.
- Create a safe, loving home environment.
- Help kids become involved in constructive experiences.
The Campaign for Real Beauty lives online at www.campaignforrealbeauty.com. The site houses a variety of tools for improving self-esteem in girls. Visitors can make a donation to uniquely ME! (all donations will directly benefit its self-esteem programs) as well as access and share helpful how-to information. The contents include tips for encouraging self-esteem and a “self-check” quiz, articles by leading self-esteem experts, self-esteem discussion boards and a free downloadable self-esteem building mother-daughter workbook “True You.”
The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was developed after the brand commissioned a global study that found only two percent of women around the world describe themselves as beautiful. Based on the findings, Dove created a series of advertising campaigns, outreach programs and a Web site. This program was developed to challenge beauty stereotypes and invite women worldwide to join in a discussion about beauty. Responses to the first three phases were overwhelmingly positive; the campaign has served as a catalyst to help change society’s definition of beauty. More than one million women around the world have visited campaignforrealbeauty.com and shared words of encouragement supporting the efforts to widen the narrow definition of beauty. The campaign is being featured in college and post graduate textbooks, documentaries, as well as panels, conferences and other speaking engagements.
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