Written by Debra Beck
How hard is it for our young girls to compete with the models on the runways?
It’s impossible and very disheartening.
Young girls look at these models and want to be like them, dress like them, be beautiful like them and most of all have their bodies. So what is the big deal?
The big deal is that 99.9% of them can’t. Most of the models are severely underweight and they aren’t a representation of the body shapes and sizes that exist in today’s world. Now take these underweight models and photo shop away any flaws they might have. So now we have our young girls striving to become too skinny, photo shopped models.
The more our girls are exposed to these unrealistic images, the more dissatisfied they become with their own bodies and the more they are apt to do damaging things to achieve these unrealistic goals. The outcome from this can be eating disorders, excessive working out, body mutilations, depression, anxiety and judgments of themselves and others.
Girls have the double whammy because they believe they should look like these models on the runway, and guess what… so do the boys. If boys are constantly seeing images of models, this is what becomes their comparison. This is why it is so important for parents to help both their girls and boys realize that the body images they see in magazines and TV aren’t their reality.
Oddly enough, body image issues aren’t just affecting our young girls; they are affecting women of all ages.
80% of women feel badly about their bodies and most women and teens have an immediate reaction to seeing someone on the cover of a magazine showing off their body. The reaction is usually “I’m not good enough.”
80% of women report that images of women on TV, fashion magazines and advertising make them feel insecure about their looks.
What are some of the things we can do to combat this issue?
- Don’t buy into the media telling you your body has to look a certain way to be attractive.
- Don’t bad talk yourself; keep your thoughts about yourself positive.
- Focus on what you love about yourself, not what you don’t like.
- Don’t feel like you have to follow the fads; dress the way you want to make you feel good about your body.
- Every time someone, including yourself, says something negative about your body, just have a mantra “I love myself just the way I am, and I am perfect”
- Take care of yourself, eat healthy, exercise do nice things for yourself, read a book, relax, take a bath, pamper yourself.
- Make sure you see the things in you, you want others to see in you….”That you are a good person”
- Write down what you like about yourself and view it often.
- Appreciate your body for what it does for you. Just your feet alone, they have a tough job
- Catch yourself when saying negative things about your body and say, “Cancel” and back it up with something positive.
- Catch your judgments of others, realizing that if you are judging others, you are judging yourself.
- Hang around people that respect you and have good things to say about you.
- Be around people that treat you well, and like you for who you are.
- Know that beauty comes from the inside out, and what makes you shine is who you are, not what you look like.
It isn’t easy loving yourself from the inside out; it takes constant practice and awareness. We all want to be accepted for who we are by our family and friends. It starts with accepting ourselves and learning not to judge our bodies and other things about ourselves. The more we learn to love ourselves exactly the way we are, the more confidence we will have and the more love we will have for others and ourselves.
So, realize that you aren’t going to appeal to everyone, and that’s okay; it’s you that you need to appeal to and love unconditionally. Enjoy being you, because you are the only you and you are beautiful just the way you are.
Debra Beck, Author of My Feet Aren’t Ugly, A Girl’s Guide to Loving herself from the inside out, is a devoted mentor for teenage girls and parents on issues facing teenagers and parents today.
With 20 plus years experience in self-development, and first-hand awareness of how difficult the teenage years can be, empathy, and a passion for making a difference, Debra discovered her life’s work: helping young girls learn to truly love themselves from the inside out. She is also a parent of two daughters and understands the worries of parenting, so she is also devoted to guiding parents through these turbulent years to give them the tools they need to create a harmonious family unit.
She has created and facilitated her own workshops, girls groups and individual mentoring through Spirited Youth, an organization she founded to help girls in a positive and supportive way. Because she has experienced both being a tormented teen and a worried parent, she mentors through her heart with compassion.
She currently resides in Sedona, Arizona.
More information on her work can be found at her website.