A survey reveals that the body confidence of British girls in the UK is plummeting – and an expert believes that there needs to be open chats in families to reverse this trend.
The poll, conducted on behalf of Girlguiding, questioned 1,627 girls from the age of 7 to 21 and showed that confidence in their own appearance dropped from 73% in 2001 to 61% this year.
The 2016 Girls' Attitudes Survey revealed that girls feel embarrassed and ashamed of how they look and, sometime, refused to get involved in some activities for fear of body shaming or taunts.
For the 7-10 year olds, 36% reported that someone at some point had made them think that their appearance was the most important thing about them.
Deborah Sandler is co-founder of CosmeticSupport, an independent support services that help guide potential and actual cosmetic patients to their own choices and decisions by exploring the difference between marketing and reality.
She says: ‘Young people are particularly vulnerable to the influences of celebrity culture and cosmetic surgery marketing. They can be led to believe that appearance matters more than ability, and is the key to success in life.
‘Nearly half of all young girls today suffer from lack of confidence because of worries about their appearance and some may come from backgrounds where a parent has had cosmetic surgery, and this can lead to discord between the generations.’
She adds: ‘Supportive dialogues between parents and young people can help both generations feel comfortable with their choices. CosmeticSupport – is a non-profit service offering individual and group support and information to girls, boys, women and men (as well as friends and family) who feel they need help with appearance-related issues.
‘I welcome the fact that, with the number of young girls negatively affected increasing, the Girl Guides and Brownies are fighting back against the media’s stereotyping preoccupation with appearance.’
The girls and women who took part in the survey were not necessarily involved in guiding.
Now, an eight-point action plan, Girls Matter, is available here >.
It includes a call on all schools to teach body confidence and gender equality.
They have also introduced a new badge – Free Being Me – that is awarded to members who attend sessions boosting body confidence and identifying misleading myths and marketing.