There was a time when all that young girls worried about was what to call their new doll…or whether they’d get a new bike for Christmas. Judging by the findings of the recent Girls’ Attitude Survey, which is compiled each year by the Girl Guides, today’s young girls have much more to worry about – particularly when it comes to their bodies and their looks…
The survey found that, from as young as seven, girls say they feel embarrassed about – and ashamed of – how they look and, as such, fear of their bodies being criticised holds them back from doing everyday things they would like to do.
36% of girls interviewed for the survey aged between seven and ten said that people make them think that the most important thing about them is how they look
54% of the same age group said that ‘stop judging girls and women on what they look like’ was one of their top three priorities for change.
The survey found that, from a young age, too many girls don’t feel happy with how they look and can feel embarrassed and ashamed of their appearance. Girls said that they experienced intense appearance pressures and that the fear that people will criticise their bodies holds them back from doing everyday things they’d like to do.
They also reported they are made to feel that how they look is the most important thing about them – something very young girls feel – and this only increases as they get older. They believe their appearance matters when it comes to being successful in life and that there are double standards for girls compared with boys.
Among other survey findings for the 7-10 year-old group interviewed:
- 35% believe that women are judged more on their appearance than on their ability
- 25% have experienced someone saying mean things about their bodies
- 39% have experienced people saying mean things to girls about their bodies at school
- 16% have seen rude images they found upsetting
- 16% have had someone they don’t know contacting them!
- 13% have experienced cyber bullying
- 22% often feel like they are not good enough