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Jim Liebelt Christian Blog and Commentary

American Teen Girls Feel Pressure To Be Thin

  • Jim Liebelt
    Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
  • 2010 Feb 01
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Almost nine in 10 American teenage girls say they feel pressured by the fashion and media industries to be skinny and that an unrealistic, unattainable image of beauty has been created, a poll showed on Monday.

The online survey of 1,000 girls aged between 13 and 17 for the Girl Scouts of the USA found that three quarters said they would be more likely to buy clothes that they see on real-size models than on women who are skinny.

But three out of four girls said that fashion is "really important" to them.

"The fashion industry remains a powerful influence on girls and the way they view themselves and their bodies," said Kimberlee Salmond, senior researchers at the Girl Scout Research Institute.

"Teenage girls take cues about how they should look from models they see in fashion magazines and on TV and it is something that they struggle to reconcile with when they look at themselves in the mirror," she said.

More than 80 percent of teen girls said they would rather see natural photos of models rather than pictures that had been digitally altered or enhanced.

One in three girls said they have starved themselves or refused to eat in an effort to lose weight, while almost half said they knew someone their age who has forced themselves to throw up after eating. More than a third said they know someone who has been diagnosed with an eating disorder.

Source: Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSTRE6104Q420100201

No big surprises here, just more of what we already know -- that our culture promotes certain images of what beautiful or even "normal" is -- and when it comes to female body image -- thin fashion models are the images young teenage girls see most often.  Parents can help offset the impact of cultural norms by placing an emphasis on helping their daughters develop a healthy self-image based upon more important character and spiritual aspects and by offering a lot of affirmation, warmth and encouragement (A.W.E.) 

For more information on teen self-image and parenting with AWE, click on the titles below to view these online articles:

Kids and Self-Esteem

Parenting with A.W.E.