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What Girls Say About: The Pressure to Be Pretty

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Survey Says: Girls Worry About Their Looks

Imagine a group of 100 girls. How many think they are beautiful or pretty? Only 41 of them, according to our recent survey of 11,500 girls.

What about the other girls? Of the rest, 19% (or 19 out of 100) said they were not pretty, and another 40% said they were not sure. Our survey also found that more than half of girls worry about their weight and say they spend a lot of time thinking about the way they look. Some even said they do this “constantly.” And half (50%) of girls said they usually don’t like the way they look in a selfie.

That’s a problem and here’s why: When girls don’t feel attractive, they often don’t feel good about themselves in general. It doesn’t mean you can never have a bad hair day. Of course, that happens. But if you only have negative thoughts and feelings about the way you look, it can wear a girl down. You might not feel very important or valuable. And you are definitely important and valuable.

Here’s What Girls Can Do

Here are three helpful steps to take.

  1. If you feel pressure to be pretty or thin, talk to someone. Your mom is a good choice.
  2. Take great care of yourself by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. You’ll feel great!
  3. Do your best to feel good (or at least pretty OK) about how you look. Your mom and others who love you can help with this.

It’s not about looking magazine-cover beautiful. When you hold yourself to impossible standards, it only tears you down and puts too much focus on being perfect. Instead, like your looks. Then how you look won’t take up so much space in your brain and you can work on other, more interesting stuff.

Like what? Like sports, or art, or school, or music, or volunteering, or reading, or planting a garden, or learning to do computer code. Most girls in our survey agree this is a good idea. A big majority of girls (74%) said they’d choose “being really good at something” over “being pretty and thin.” Exactly!

So put your energy into what you enjoy and want to strive toward. Then, in time, you’ll accomplish a bunch of things and you’ll feel great about you — all you are and all you can become. Beautiful!

Reviewed by: D’Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: May 2014