Double Sunrise Young Women's Health: early teen to college years


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GeneralHealth

"Super Girl"

There has been a lot of discussion about the "super woman" image, so it would be no surprise if there is a "super girl" image as well. "Super girls" try to live up to what others want, and do it with a smile.

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Meanwhile, the image she projects is different than what she is experiencing inside. She pushes aside what she truly feels, often thinking it is "wrong".

Girls, when asked about how they view their bodies, will often give all the "right answers". They will say, "I like my body the way it is. I'm happy with how I look." One could think that perhaps we're making headway with girls, and that perhaps body image disturbances are becoming less of a problem.

But researchers are finding that what girls say publicly about physical beauty, and what they communicate privately can be very different.

Erkut, Marx, Fields, and Sing at the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women report in Raising Confident and Competent Girls, "A noteworthy finding was that physical attractiveness appears to be a source of conflict for Caucasian girls." They found that in focus-group discussion, Caucasian girls strongly insisted that a girl who likes herself would not bow to peer pressure regarding how she looks and dresses. Yet when writing privately, their highest correlation to self-esteem and how they felt about themselves was overwhelmingly "physical attractiveness". It's interesting to note that African American girls correlated self-esteem to scholastic achievement, not physical appearance.

As we listen carefully to young women and gain their trust, we will be able to hear their true struggles. As struggles are shared with a trusting person, they will lose power. Women of all ages benefit by support to view our value in healthy ways. As we gain this, we can model for girls how they are appreciated for what they truly are.

Keeping connected in order to grow


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