Every day on the internet and in the media, we are bombarded with images of celebrities with flawless faces and perfect bodies. This puts pressure on everyone, but in particular young women and girls to meet these often impossible standards and cause a feeling of inadequacy when they do not. This lack of self-esteem can cause a range of problems and hold back those young women from achieving their goals in life. The answer to this is promoting a positive body image, allowing them to feel comfortable in their own skin to take on the challenges and reach their full potential.
The problem of self-esteem
When self-respect is low it can be hard to find the courage to aim high. In 2013 a World Association Study of women and girls from 70 countries found that 45% believe that low body confidence is holding back girls from aspiring to leadership positions. Poor self-esteem can hold back an individual in many ways. They may be less likely to put themselves forward and engage in school. Socially too they can be held back as those with a poor body image may also be less confident in their social interactions and less likely to try new activities. It can even impact health as they may be less likely to seek medical attention or resort to risky treatments and diets in an attempt to change their appearance to one they consider more acceptable.
Self-confidence in appearance should not only be the provision of the thin and conventionally beautiful and nor are the conventionally beautiful and thin necessarily confident. Instead, anyone can be encouraged to believe in themselves and be happy with the way they present themselves to the world. Good body confidence promotes the idea of self-worth, for the individual to be happy with how they look and not allow societal pressures to hold them back. With a positive body image, they can be happy being themselves and proud of their body and all it can achieve.
Tackling the problem
When people are happy with how they look, the resulting confidence helps them believe in themselves. As they become more confident, it may also solve other problems as they improve their relationships with friends and relatives and find the courage to take up activities they enjoy. Fortunately, there are measures which can be taken to promote and improve body image, such as avoiding too much talk based on appearance and weight, not watching or reading media where the focus is on criticism of appearance, and spending time in a physical activity you enjoy such as sport or dancing to prove just how amazing your body actually is.
Good body confidence frees the individual from societal pressures and allows them to be happy being themselves. With improved confidence young women and any others who have suffered from poor self-esteem will find renewed motivation to realize their dreams, making a difference in their local communities and perhaps even on the national and international stage.