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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Children > New survey highlights self-esteem crisis among girls and young women

New survey highlights self-esteem crisis among girls and young women

LatinaLista — Most of us remember those times in our lives when we thought we were ugly. Our noses were too big, our butts too wide, too fat, too skinny, no curves, too many curves — it didn’t matter what it was, we could find fault with ourselves.
Luckily, most of us get over that “ugly duckling” feeling and learn to appreciate our beauty. However, for some girls it’s harder to see their individual beauty.

A new survey titled Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteem commissioned by the beauty brand Dove and its Dove Self-Esteem Fund, found some continuing and disturbing trends among girls who feel ugly:

  • 75 percent of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative and potentially harmful activities, such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking or drinking, when feeling badly about themselves-compared with 25 percent of girls with high self-esteem.
  • 61 percent of teen girls with low self-esteem admit to talking badly about themselves (Compared to 15 percent of girls with high self-esteem)
  • 25 percent of teen girls with low self-esteem resort to injuring themselves on purpose or cutting when feeling badly about themselves (Compared to 4 percent of girls with high self-esteem)
  • 25 percent of teen girls with low self-esteem practice disordered eating, such as starving themselves, refusing to eat, or over-eating and throwing up, when feeling badly about themselves (Compared to 7 percent of girls with high self-esteem)

These percentages are disturbing in and of themselves but upon further questioning of the girls surveyed, there was a common denominator in what would make a big difference in their lives —

The top wish among girls is for their parents to communicate better with them, including more frequent and more open conversations, as well as discussions about what is happening in her life. However, as girls enter their teenage years there is a significant loss of trust and communication with adults, particularly when they are feeling badly about themselves.

It’s an understatement to say that life gets busy, and in these times, it’s more stressful than ever but it’s definitely not the time to stop talking to our girls and finding out what their feelings are, what’s happening with them in school, who is the latest boy or girl they like and what their thoughts are on a variety of other issues.
Because as this survey reported parents hold the key to making their girls feel good about themselves — all it takes is making the time for it.

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