Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Self Esteem in Teenage girls

As my 2 older daughters were going through their teenage years, I could see how their self-esteem took a beating year after year in high school. Pressure came from all sides. These years are especially brutal for girls.

Women, in general, had lower self-esteem than men, although both genders have identical high levels between the ages of 9 and 12. "During adolescence, girls' self-esteem dropped about twice as much as boys'."

At that time I read a book called Reviving Ophelia. It is a book about what girls go through during these years. It says girls are their true selves at 12 and year after year they quit being themselves by trying to be accepted by their peers. They give up their likes, style, hobbies, talents etc. to fit in.

Reviving Ophelia discusses the painful identity crisis many young women in American society experience as they pass from childhood into adulthood.
Girls become “female impersonators” who fit their whole selves into small, crowded spaces. Vibrant, confident girls become shy, doubting young women. Girls stop thinking “Who am I? What do I want? And start thinking “What must I do to please others?”

Here are some sad statistics:
1 in 2 teens who have been in a serious relationships say they've gone against their beliefs in order to please their partner

92% of teen girls would like to change something about the way they look, with body weight ranking the highest.

70% of girls ages 15 to 17 avoid normal daily activities such as attending school, going to the doctor, or even giving their opinion "due to feeling badly about one’s looks."

Only 2% of women describe themselves as “beautiful”

While only 19% of teenage girls are "overweight," 67% think they "need to lose weight"

90% of eating disorders are found in girls

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