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A WAKE UP CALL – Self Worth and Young Women

 

A growing epidemic and the issues surrounding young women and lack of self worth have only started to be addressed.  One of the biggest issue is identity. There is no real model from which young women can identify with. There is no model to fit the ideal.

shutterstock_60124147Media feeds on controlling this large demographic with false pretenses of what to identify with. It focuses on appearance, material gain, and happiness based solely on external influences. It is even more challenging for successful young women, because suffering from lack of identify is compounded by the pressures of work performance, social networking and family expectations.

We are relying on media to teach girls at an early age what is expected of them.

The false model creates pressure to believe that young women have to be beautiful, successful, intelligent, socially accepted, and still have their eye on the future to get married, raise a family and live “happily ever after”.  This old paradigm of thinking severely affects youth, their self esteem and the future.   An immediate issue are the emotional and physical stresses, which manifest into migraine headaches, chemical addictions, depression and suicide.  We are seeing a significant rise in self inflicted behavior among female youth and the numbers are staggering.

The choices we make and level of exposure we accept for our children at an early age, such as media influence, social acceptance and old programing carves the path for them.

When will society wake up and make conscious choices to provide a greater influence for the betterment of our children? We’ve gotten lazy and our society has allowed media to become the biggest influence for our children. A model they are expected to adhere by. Why is this acceptable?

Young women are struggling to find an identity in society where the only thing to identify with are girls in fame, fortune and media. It is a seriously skewed vision of reality, and devastating to know we are setting young girls up for failure and the inability to feel total self acceptance.

The failure is not so much in what they do, but who they become; lost souls struggling to find themselves as they battle between who they really are and who they are supposed to be.

This is a wake up call.

A call to action and a time to be the change.

Quote
“The first thing the advertisers do is surround us with the image of ideal female beauty so we all learn how important it is to be beautiful and exactly what is takes. Women learn from a very early age that we must spend enormous time and energy, and above all money, striving to achieve this ideal, and feeling ashamed and guilty when we fail.” Jean Kilbourne, Feminist Author and Speaker

Statistics from 2012 YouTube video done by a 10th graders called – Media’s Effects on Teen Girl’s Body Image & Self Esteemshutterstock_133743176

  • Every week teenage girls spending 31 hours watching tv
  • 15 hours online
  • 3.5 hours looking in the mirror
  • The average adolescent girl views on average over 200 unrealistic ads on TV a day
  • The number one issue among teens girls today is poor body image and low self esteem
  • 80% of teenage girls are dissatisfied with their appearance
  • The average model weighs 23% less than the average healthy woman
  • Diet related products are a $33 billion a year industry
  • 1 out of every 4 teenage girls has admitted to being on a diet
  • 81% of girls under the age of ten are afraid to be ‘fat’
  • HALF of all 4th grade girls are on a diet
  • 42% want to be thinner
  • Elementary school girls are more fearful of gaining weight than of getting cancer, having a nuclear war or losing their parents
  • Unrealistic and unattainable standards are in direct relation to teenage depression and suicide
  • 35,000 girls suffer from anorexia every year; 10,000 will not survive
  • 15% of girls will suffer of depression before adulthood; 4% commit suicide
  • Today’s beauty ideals create anxiety for 86.9% of teenage girls

For an in-depth look at how society and media play a vital role in young women and how we can become a positive influence on young women see the following resources.

  • www.missrepresentation.org
  • www.womenactionmedia.org

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