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But parents have a tremendous influence on how a girl feels about herself, and with the right map in hand, you can steer your daughter away from influences and activities that undermine self-esteem and towards those that contribute to a realistic body image and a strong sense of self.Here are the major challenges she’ll face at various points in her development: Photoshopped celebrities and rail-thin models set impossible standards of beauty for girls long before they are aware that what they’re seeing on TV isn’t real.“There’s a lot of work that’s done on women’s images in terms of stretching them to make them appear taller and thinner,” veteran TV and movie producer Gavin Polone (says.“And it’s not just stretching; it’s visual effects to take away lines and blemishes and I would say at this point half or more of the women on TV are wearing wigs or extensions.”Girls aren’t likely to stop watching TV.While a large percentage of girls engage in some kind of disordered eating (defined as anything from dieting to binging and purging only occasionally), girls who develop full-blown eating disorders, Dr. “Nobody gets an eating disorder from media messaging,” he says.Factors like family dynamics, genetics, and undiagnosed conditions like anxiety, depression or ADHD can all play a role.
But does fully aware mean that they are unaffected? “Advertisers and the media keep the message alive,” explains Mary Rooney, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute.
I take pride in my huge eye lashes.” She says most of her friends wear make-up regularly too. And,” she adds, “my mom has an expectation, you shouldn’t go to school looking like you just woke up. You never know who you might run into.”The program was developed by Steiner-Adair to teach girls not only to be media savvy but to stop looking to external sources—like boys—for self-validation and instead to look within and find their own voice and their own strengths.
When asked who she’s trying to look pretty for, the answer comes quickly. “If you say to a boy, ‘tell me four things you’re really great at, not related to what you look like, “Steiner-Adair explains, “they’ll say, ‘Oh, I’m so good at the science problems.
“Quyen told her mom she wanted to be Prince Philip because she told her mother, ‘He gets to fight the dragon.
All sleeping Beauty does is sleep.'”Disney princesses aren’t the only passive role models encoded and encouraged in girl culture.
And I think teens and girls in particular are vulnerable to this message because they haven’t defined who they are yet.”Girls are affected not just by what they see, but what they do, adds Dr. “And when things are kept at a superficial level—the more time they spend shopping, or making themselves attractive or talking about who’s dating who the less time they spend engaged in activities that would actually make them develop positive core values and a positive sense of self.” Every expert consulted for this article emphasized the importance of getting girls involved in an activity—whether it be team sports, theater, a musical instrument—in which they can express themselves and achieve self-esteem from the process of mastering a skill.