December 18, 2017

Self-Esteem and “Real Beauty”

By Julie Samrick

I was really tall in elementary school, which made me feel really awkward about my appearance.  I still remember one boy saying to me, “You’re the biggest girl in 4th grade!” He only said it one time but his words stung for a long time because they hit an insecurity of mine. It’s amazing how our brains work- compliments can pass us by, but one hurtful insult can last a lifetime.


Sadly, girls today are fighting an even steeper uphill battle against society’s expectations of beauty. Between social media splashing every golden picture and/or flawed one and teen stars on television today looking like they never had an awkward moment in their lives (What ever happened to representative stars like The Beaver and Blossom?) No wonder more kids than ever feel bad about their looks.


Take a look at these statistics from Dove® research:

  • Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004) 
  • Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves 
  • 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful
  • 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty 
  • More than half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic


Thank goodness I had a mother who told me to hold my head high when I wanted to slouch. She reminded me in a loving way to stand up straight and be proud of my height (which, ironically, never amounted to much- I stopped growing in the 8th grade and am slightly above average today- oh well).  I also knew when my mom looked in the mirror she liked what she saw, and for some reason that always made me feel good.


Years later as an adult I saw the author of the book Reviving Ophelia speak.  One thing she said that really stood out was that as mothers we shouldn’t talk about dieting or how we don’t like this body part or that in front of our kids, especially not in front of our daughters.  She clarified I wasn’t crazy for what I felt as a kid- mothers are mirrors to their girls.  What mothers see when they look in the mirror is what our daughters see when they look at themselves.  With young daughters of my own now I consciously keep that message in mind.  The world, and their peers, can be cruel enough.  No?


Dove contacted me about spreading their message of helping girls realize their real beauty, and I accepted because I believe in their cause.  For specific tools download the Let’s Talk Toolkit. Created with Jess Weiner, Dove Global Self-Esteem Ambassador, this is a great resource to start having conversations with young people.

What is in the Dove Let’s Talk Toolkit:

1.Questions to ask your teen or tween daughter 

2.Advice on sharing your own experiences

3.When to listen

4.Follow up your conversation with actions


Visit Dove’s Facebook Page to Send a Note of Confidence by selecting your message and sharing with your friends.


You will also find many other resources on the Dove Facebook page. Dove will be kicking off the Self-Esteem Weekend with an inspiring Twitter Party tomorrow, on October 4th, at 3pm ET! Join @Dove by using the hashtag #DoveInspired, where you’ll be able to ask questions and advice with prizes from Dove.


For the majority of teen and tween girls, their looks have a tremendous impact on their self-esteem. Many girls avoid activities or stop doing things they love because of the way they feel about their looks. What can parents do? Join women across the county, October 5-7, when Dove will be holding a nationwide rally to talk about beauty, confidence and self-esteem. Commit to talk to the girl in your life during the weekend and beyond – it all starts with a conversation.


Disclosure: Thanks to Dove for sponsoring this discussion.


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