Low self-esteem

posted by Jeff | Sunday, February 5, 2006, 7:46 PM | comments: 2

So far one Superbowl spot that stood out, from Dove in their girl self-esteem campaign.

It sounds kind of stupid really, but I guess when you've coached teenage girls for so many years, and knew someone who died of anorexia, you tend to think about the issue quite a bit. I can't know how culture influenced girls 20 years ago, or say that girls have it better/worse than they used to, but today I can tell you that there are so many external influences that pressure girls into feeling shitty about themselves, and that bothers me.

I don't know that a PR campaign by a soap brand is exactly the most altruistic thing in the world, but I think it is an important subject. It's not even something that is limited to girls either. I think we've actually seen some improvement in terms of adult women. I mean, Desperate Housewives is all about 30- and 40-something women being powerful and beautiful. Then at the young end, Disney Channel always has shows with chubby girls. A lot of young actresses like Scarlett Johansson are "normal" for the most part.

Is it normal for teenagers to just not feel that good about themselves? I don't know... I don't think it has to be that way. When I ask women I know if anyone ever said to them, "You know, you're kick ass exactly as you are," most say that no one ever told them that. Maybe it would make a difference if someone did.


, February 6, 2006, 1:19 PM #

I can tell you 38 years ago the culture was big on girls with perfect figures, big boobs and beautiful faces. If you didn't have that, you were snubbed by both male and females alike.

Junior high was hell, and although I tried very hard to make the best of having a 32-24-32 figure until I was 19 (at 16 some boys hollered out "18-18-18" at me when I was at a beach), there were some really rough times. Janice Ian's song Seventeen really rang true for me and a few other "ugly duckling" friends.

Even if someone tells you that "you are kick ass exactly as you are" (generally adults) it's very hard to believe it when peers are consistently putting you down.

This isn't limited to girls, either. It took quite a bit of self-esteme building with Ian in middle school. He was a nerd, went through a major chubby stage, and was picked on in his "regular" classes. At least in the TAG classes he was with others who were just as nerdy.

It takes quite a bit to get over the self-esteme issues that society generates. I do think it's getting better. There is still external pressure, but I don't think it's nearly as rampant as it used to be. What has changed is parents tend not to be as involved in their kid's lives and don't always notice the self-esteme issues until they are deeply seated.

CPLady, February 6, 2006, 1:21 PM #

Damn, once again my authentication lapsed before I finished posting.

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