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Girl Self-Esteem & Image Issues & Parents

25 March 2009 104 Comments
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Girls Self Image

Almost across the nation 50% of young girls are engaged in negative activities such as injuring and cutting themselves or engaging in unhealthy eating habits and disorders due to self-esteem and self-image issues.

Girl Self-Esteem & Image Issues

Dove’s Campaign on True Beauty came with a bang last year with their poignant videos that went viral all over the web:

Evolution Video

Onslaught Video

Have you visited their site? It has quite a good number of statistical data in regards to Girls and Self-Image. They have information as well as workshops in helping a girl with their self-esteem. They also have a map with top cities and the individual studies they did in each area. I’ve summarized their statistics and findings below.

Here is the executive summary:

Self-esteem has become a crisis in this country. The majority of girls feel they do not measure up in some way including their looks, performance in school and relationships. Most disturbing is that girls with low self-esteem are three times more likely than girls with high self-esteem to engage in harmful and destructive behavior that can leave a lasting imprint on their lives.

Highlights: Real Girls, Real Pressure National Study

Girls and Insecurities

  • 7 in 10 Girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way including their looks, performance i school and relationship with friends and family members.
  • 62% Girls are insecure about themselves

Low Self Esteem and Bad Behavior

  • 75% of girls with low self-esteem report engaging in negative activities such as eating disorders, cutting, smoking, drinking when feeling bad about themselves.
  • 25% of teen girls with low self-esteem purposefully injure or cut themselves
  • 25% of teen girls with low self-esteem have eating disorders (starving, refusing to eat, overeating, throwing up, bulimia)

Parental Influence Good and Bad

  • Girls with low self-esteem less likely to receive praise from parents but more criticism
  • 34% of girls with low-self esteem feel they are not good enough of a daughter.
  • 57% of girls have mothers who criticizes her looks
  • 57% of girls don’t tell mothers things about them because of they don’t want them to think bad of them

One of their primary focuses is the fact that parents have great influence in the way their daughters view beauty, their body, and their self-esteem. There is a push to make parents aware that their comments about eating habits, about clothes and looks, about body images all molds a child’s thinking. Moms are role models, and when moms are constantly talking about how some dress makes them look (“This dress makes me look so pretty” “this dress makes me look fat”) or how they feel about their body (“I am getting fat!”) or how their daughter needs to eat a certain way not to get fat (“Don’t eat that or you’ll get fat”), these off hand comments that most people make molds the way the child views themselves, the way they view what is beauty and their own self-esteem.

Below I’ve noted some high level information from some of the bigger cities in the US. Statistics always hit closer to home when you know it’s your local area. You can find the rest of the cities on their map page. Highest among the list is bolded.

Believe they are not good enough daughters

Austin – 19%

Chicago – 18%

Los Angeles – 23% (top 10)

New York – 19%

San Francisco – 25% (top 5)

Believe they do not measure up in some way (looks, performance, relationships)

Austin – 71%

Chicago – 70%

Los Angeles – 70%

New York – 59%

San Francisco – 71%

Seattle – 67%

Washington D.C – 66%

Engaged in Negative Activities due to Self-Esteem Issues

Austin – 43% (9% injure or cut themselves, 24% eating disorders)

Chicago – 49% (5% injure or cut themselves, 15% eating disorders)

Los Angeles – 50% (7% injure or cut themselves, 22% eating disorders)

New York – 46% (7% injure or cut themselves, 17% eating disorder)

San Francisco – 51% (7% injure or cut themselves, 8% eating disorders)

Seattle – 62% (13% injure or cut themselves, 19% eating disorders)

Washington D.C – 53% (15% injure or cut themselves, 24% eating disorders)

Top wish of Girls in regards to their parents

Parents to Communicate Better – more open conversations about their lives

50% of Young Girls are Engaging in Harmful Activities

The statistics are alarming. Almost across the nation 50% of young girls are engaged in negative activities such as injuring and cutting themselves or engaging in unhealthy eating habits and disorders due to self-esteem and self-image issues. Since childhood they are influenced by media, the beautiful celebrities, the models, the magazines that tells them the best ways to look prettier, lose more weight, while displaying skinny perfect skinned women. As adults alike are engaged in this culture, when they look at parents or older models they see the same type of image focused values. It is no wonder girls in our modern culture have self-image issues.

There are a lot of good articles out there discussing how parents can positively influence and affect their child’s view of themselves and properly anchor their self-image and self-esteem on the right things. A child’s dependence on how they look stems often from the language and life of their own parents and so with a little more awareness and effort parents can together have a positive influence on their children.

  • What is your reaction to these statistics?
  • Do any of the self esteem statistics surprise you?
  • What great ideas have you tried with your children to help their self-esteem?


  • anonymous said:

    I agree

  • Vanessa said:

    It’s actually pretty sad to see this happening to girls. I’ve seen little girls change SO much and so prematurely because they want to fit in to this ‘beauty’ image. What’s most disturbing is that they see this as a natural progression, as though it was something they need to do as part of growing up.

  • Jenny said:

    Where did you get the stats for this article? I would like to use them in a report for school but I need the resource. It would be really appreciated if I could get the sources as soon as possible. Thanks!

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    Hey Jenny,

    it notes in the article that the stats are from the dove site. I would poke around on their site to find some of the statistics noted here.

    You can also utilize this link to help you get started: self esteem statistics

    Also have you seen this article about children and the concept of beauty? Very fascinating. I think it will be helpful in your studies.

    Where you can, please source this website as well to help spread the word 🙂
    Hope this helps.

  • E. Ann said:

    Hi, I’m doing my Eng 111 research paper on The media and how it affects young people’s self esteem and body image. I just read your article and would like to use your statistics on my paper but I need the author’s full name for my works cited. I don’t mind if it’s just the last name etc as long as my source is legit to my teacher. So, if its ok can you please respond to my comment with the author’s full name of last name? thank you!

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    Hey E. Ann,

    I went ahead and emailed you directly the authors name. 🙂
    Hope you write a great paper! If you are willing come share with us all your findings or email it over.

    We have a lot of great articles and statistics on the influences of media on young people. Use this link to find more. (it’s what you would get if you searched for “children media” on the search bar on the top right.

    – Clean Cut Media

  • anna said:

    hey, i am also doing a report about how media affects girls’ body image. i was wondering if you could email me the author of the article plzz cause its my summative and its really important and can u email me as soon as u get this.. thanks alot..

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    done. 🙂

  • Crystal said:

    hey i was wonder who the author was because i am writting a paper on media influence for my religion class.

  • Corinne said:

    I would also like to include one of your statistics from this article and was wondering if you could e-mail me the author’s name so I can cite it. Thank you, Corinne

  • SupahStar said:

    Can you please email me the author’s name.!!

  • me said:

  • lou said:

    Would someone e-mail me the name of the author. Thanks

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    hey lou!

    Sent! Please do reference the site if you chose to.. “cite” it somewhere..

  • canttell said:

    you no wat this is scary i cant belive that that many girls are like that. ifeel bad for them

  • Tiffany said:

    I am also writing an essay on self-esteem issues in the world today. I need the Author’s name as well. Can you please email me that if possible so I can cite it as well. Thanks so much

  • k c said:

    Very interesting and complex topic – and always of interest to me. You provided solid information. That, along with the comment exchanges, keeps this conversation going. A wonderful contribution. Thank you!
    Self Esteem Affirmations

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    hey KC. thanks for your kind words.

  • Jan said:

    Hello. I am also writing an essay on self-esteem issues for my Eng012. Can you please email me the author of this article. Thank you very much. And btw, nice article.

  • Emily Kaufman said:

    I would like for the ladies to take responsiblity for there self esteem! Don’t look to the main stream media as your standard… it’s all edited and processed. You hold on to your happiness, individuality, and spirit. Smile, be friendly and kind, and stop letting boys and other weak people control you because you want their attention. What ever you have today you either did not have it yesterday or it will be gone tomorrow so prepair your self for change and growth.
    Be blessed and Stay Stong!
    Emily Kaufman
    Cosmetologist and Motivational Speaker

  • Hannah said:

    Need the authors name for citation. Thank you

  • Katie said:

    Heyy I came across this when researching for my pop culture and the negativer effects it has on teen girls. very helpful. very sad.
    i was curious if you could email the authors name please?
    thank you for the great article .

  • Giulianne said:

    Hi I’m creating a program plan for a class, and need to cite this in the paper, could i get the authors name/info for this to cite it! thanks!

  • Kyle said:

    Could I get the authors name?? 🙂 I am writing a paper on self-esteem and need to cite this.

  • Mary said:

    Hi I need the authors name to cite it in my schools newspaper!!! This article is great as I go to an all girls school and this pressure is always on. Please email me by tonight, authors name! Thank you

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    in case people are wondering, I’ve sent the info everyone has been requested directly to the email addresses provided! Enjoy! thanks so much for your interest. Hope others find it interesting and insightful.

  • tab said:

    i need the other to please i’m citing this page as well!

  • Taylor said:

    Can i please get the author’s name also!

  • Hannah said:

    I LOVE this article and i am doing a speech on low self esteem and i really need the authors name for my citation!! 🙂 Please get it to me asap! Thanks!

  • Natassja said:

    Hey great article, I would love to get more info as well for a school paper Im doing. The Authors name will be great! Thanks in advance 🙂

  • stacy said:

    hello is it possible that i could also get the author’s name? I would like to cite this article in a research paper. Can you please email it to me as soon as possible? Thanks!

  • Jeff Mancuso said:

    Hi there, as many others requested, I also am citing this article in my paper and would appreciate the authors name. Thx

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    I believe I sent the name for all those that requested!

    thanks so much for visiting. come again! and check out our other articles on similar topics.

    don’t forget to like our facebook page and let us know your thoughts there as well!

  • Bobbie Garcia said:

    Does anyone know the name of the author? I would love to use this article for my English class, BUT I need the name of the author. Please help!

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    got you too bobbie. check ur email.

    by the way, if any of you out there produces a really good report you think is worth sharing to the world, please by all means send it to us to review!

    info at cleancutmedia com

  • Mel said:

    Although this article is very good,

  • Mel said:

    sorry) I feel it is lacking in the sense that it doesn’t discuss the fact that all of these things happen to males. For example, 5% of people with anorexia are male. By focussing on the girls having these issues, it’s leaving out key points which can make males with the problems feel isolated.

  • Alex Yoss said:

    Hi! I’m writing an argumentative essay over the negative effects from sexual objectification of young girls and I need the authors name by tonight! If you could email it to me that’d be wonderful! Great article 🙂

  • pendragon said:

    I absolutely love your point! I agree so strongly that the teens of today need to realize what true beauty is. Its about being yourself, its about knowing your worth, and realizing your potential. Its about the character that you build through all your trails and tribulation. Btw, im doing a perssuasive essay for literature and i need the authors name and works cited info as well.

  • pendragon said:

    Im also having trouble finding the copyright.
    Thanks again for speaking out!

  • pendragon said:

    I agree so much! the teens of today need to realize what beaty really is. Its being yourself, its realizing your potential and worth,its the character you build through all your trails a tribulations. Thanks for speaking out.
    Btw, I need the authors name as well, and im having trouble finding the copyright.
    Thanks again!

  • Rox said:

    Hello! Im doing a report on why female teenagers engage in self cutting behavior and I want to use this article as a reference! Can I have the author’s name? Thanks!

  • Angela said:

    Hi! I’m preparing a workshop on girls and self esteem, can you provide me with the authors name? Also, thank you for providing such vital information…keep up the good work!!

  • Estephanie said:

    Hi, just like a couple of other people in the previous blogs, I am doing my Senior Thesis on How the Media Portrayals the Image of a Perfect Body For Women, and one of my questions are about self-esteem issues and I am using a lot of the information form this websitee but i need the authors name.

  • Victoria said:

    I am writing a paper on television media and how it affects adolescent girls. Can I please have the authour of this article so it will be cited correctly? thanks

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    just sent it to you. thanks for visiting! be sure to check out other relevant articles. Examples:

  • Megan said:

    Hey I am using this article for a paper. Please send me the authors name. Thank you(:

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    thanks for visiting Megan. I sent the info you requested. Hope it is helpful.

  • Megan said:

    Hey I am not sure I got it. Could you resend it please. Thanks so much!

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    sent again. try checking your spam if you don’t see it. 🙂 good luck

  • Jay said:

    Hi! Can I please get the authors name also, thanks!

  • JoJo said:

    Hi, great article! I am running a project for adolescent girls with low self esteem and am doing a presentation to colleagues tomorrow. Could I have the citation information. Thank you!

  • Ashley said:

    heyy i would like to some of these statistics in this article but need the authors name to cite it! email me the amazing author, please! thank you, ash 🙂

  • Natalie said:

    Hi just like the majority of the people commenting I too need copyright info and the name of the awesome author, and thank you for all these faboulous statistics!

  • Kristina said:

    Can I get the author please for a citation. Thank you!

  • May said:

    Hi. I too would like to cite this source and would appreciate the author’s name. Kindly e-mail it to me please.

    Thank you!!!

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    Hope I didn’t miss any of you! Should have received an email from us!

    BTW, please help share this article so others become more aware of these issues.

    If you hit +1 on the google button on the left, that helps a lot. Also share it on facebook!

    BTW – our facebook page
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  • Twanasia Brown said:

    Hello, I need to use this website for my citation page, can you please send it to me in a an email? Thank you!

  • Helena said:

    Hi, I’m writing a persuasive essay about why excessive photoshopping is bad for our society’ self-esteem and self-image. Could you send me the name of the author please?

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    thank Helena,

    Glad people are writing essays on such great topics!
    Please share our articles with others you think it would help.
    cleancutmedia recently posted..20 Amazing Cinemagraph PhotographyMy Profile

  • george said:

    I too, am writing an essay on this subject. Could you please send me the author?

  • Irene said:

    Hello. I’m doing a senior exit project on insecurity and I really want to use these statistics. So I was wondering if you could send me the sources and the author’s name. Sorry for the trouble and thanks a lot!!!

    With all due respect,

    P.S. The article was great by the way! 🙂

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    Sent! Thanks for visiting!
    If you like our articles, pls do help spread the word by +1 our page. Helps a lot!
    cleancutmedia recently posted..Butterfly Circus – A Beautiful Short FilmMy Profile

  • Rosaria said:

    Hey I have the same question as everyones else. I would like to use this research in my assignment and would like to know where the research was conducted and what is the authors name. Thanks it is a great article.

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    Hey Rosaria, should have received it via email!

    Any thoughts you’d like to share on the subject matter here?
    cleancutmedia recently posted..Should Children be Allowed on Facebook?My Profile

  • steph said:

    can you please send me the authors name? i am writting an arguementative essay and need it asap thanx bunches:)btw great article.

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    Hey Steph!

    Thanks for visiting! It was sent!
    Maybe you could share a thought or two about your opinions about girl’s self-esteem issues? Would love to hear your input.
    cleancutmedia recently posted..Unnaturally Beautiful Children: Image & BeautyMy Profile

  • Alizay Qureshi said:

    HI, can i please get the authour’s name?
    I need it for my reference page
    Thank you.

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    Hey Alizay, sent!

    Could you share with us what you are writing about and your thoughts on it?
    cleancutmedia recently posted..Unnaturally Beautiful Children: Image & BeautyMy Profile

  • Liv said:

    Hey, great article. I’d like to reference this for an assignment, can I please have the infor too? Also was this article originally written for this site, or was in written for print first?

  • Fiona said:

    Hi, can I have the author’s name?
    I need it for referencing in my essay.
    Thank you!

  • Melinda said:

    Great article! May I please have the citation information?

  • StudioSteffanie said:

    No one is born with self esteem. Therefore, it is extremely important to guide girls with positive directions in life. Everyone has a specific purpose or “calling” and it is our responsibility to discover it in order to have a well balanced life and lifestyle.

    It is unfortunate that so many girls and women suffer when they can follow a credible road map for success to help them gain confidence and learn to love themselves and accomplish goals that keep them motivated. If your daughter is in danger or is inclined to live a destructive lifestyle, I would strongly encourage them to read, “Image Is Everything!” sold on under StudioSteffanie.

    Let’s save the next generation from unnecessary drama!

  • chloe said:

    Hey can i get the author for a citation as well? thank you kindly 🙂

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    SENT! Please share this article with your friends and let us know how your report worked out 🙂
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  • Maggie Leavell said:

    Hey! Can you please email me the authors name asap, because Im doing a Psychology survey and experiment over girls self esteem issues. Thanks!

  • Alex said:

    Hi! this article is very interesting, but I need the authors name please. I’m doing a paper for my English course in college! Thanks!

  • Kim Wilson said:


    I am also writing a paper and would like to have the author’s name.


  • Jenny said:

    I’m writing a research paper and would like the citation information/author’s name please! Thank you

  • charlotte said:

    hi im looking for the authors full name as i am writing a research paper and need to cite it

  • Sky said:

    could i please get the name of the author, I’m doing a persuasive speech on how real low self-esteem is and why it’s another good thing to put on to your ‘why i don’t bully’ list (just came up with that name i think i like it) please, please, please email it to me.
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  • Kimberly said:

    I am writing a paper and would also like to have the authors name to be able to cite the information properly. Please and Thank you

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    SENT! thanks for visiting!
    please support us by liking our page and +1! it really helps spread the word.
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  • Anna said:

    May I please have the name of the author? I’m developing curriculum for young girls about self esteem as part of an internship and I’d like to include this article on my reference sheet! Thank you 🙂

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    Just sent to your email! Hope it helps.
    Support us by liking & sharing this post with others!
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  • Twanasia Brown said:

    Who is the publisher of this website? And also when was this article published?

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    Hey Twanasia!

    did you receive the author info? hopefully the email helped!
    cleancutmedia recently posted..Children TV Shows Options on Amazon & NetflixMy Profile

  • Artemis Karma said:

    hi can you please send the author sources ans statisics? 🙁

  • Blia said:

    Hello! I enjoy reading this article. I’ll have to say that I do agree with parents being an influence of how young girls sees “beauty” as. Everyone in this world is so beautiful, and it hurts my heart knowing that others can define “beauty” as what they see on the media.

    Please send me the author of the article, so I can cite my paper please.

    xoxo, Blia.

  • StudioSteffanie said:

    These stats are true! And it’s very unfortunate that so many ladies and especially young ladies fall into so many pitfalls that can be prevented with the proper direction. I created a self-help guide called, “Image Is Everything!” What Does You Image Say About You? I created it with the mission to save as many ladies as possible from all the unnecessary drama that can be prevented once they discover their purpose in life. It’s so important to know who you are! This conversation is so important to help society at large. As they say, each one teach one.

    My guide is available on (search for StudioSteffanie). America, let’s make a difference and leave a positive legacy for the ones to follow!

  • Makayla Brown said:

    Hello, I am writing a very important college essay and would be appreciate it if you could send me the authors name for my citations. Great website! Thank you!

  • cleancutmedia (author) said:

    sent 🙂
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  • Emily said:

    Hi, I am also doing an essay about this topic and I was wondering if I can have the authors for my citations also. Thanks!

  • naya92 said:

    hello im doing a presentation on media and its affect on girls i wanted to use your statistics can i get your authors name

  • Esther Teow said:

    Hi I’m yet another writer who would like a citation. 🙂 This was a really helpful source, so if I could please get the author’s name that would be great. Thanks.

  • Sara Robertson said:

    Hello, I really enjoyed your article and would like to use it for a term paper I am currently writing. Could you please send me the article info so I can reference?
    Thank you,

  • ArtemisKarma said:

    hi… would you please send me your sources for the statistics? 🙁 thank you!

  • cmment said:

    I need the author please!
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  • Sydney said:

    please follow the_selfies_movement and help me encourage young ladies

  • yws said:

    I would love to use these statistics in a paper I’m writing for class. Could you please send the author’s name/article info so I can reference it? Thank you!

  • Nicole Renee Cutler said:

    Hi! My names Nicole and I am currently writing a term paper on how media affects women! I would love to use your information although I too need an author and citation for where you got this information!
    Thank you so much!

  • Tori Meram said:

    This is such a good peice and i would love to use it for the research paper i am doing. I just need the:


    Thank you so much! (:

  • Raisefrequency said:

    The statistics of the percentage of girls with self-esteem issues is alarming but not surprising given all the pressure on girls to look certain way and excel at school performance. Hopefully parents and schools will learn to help children, tweens and teens to value and love themselves. Self love and self worth is paramount for all human beings and it is best to start in childhood.

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