Do you want to hear some of the horrifying thoughts running through the heads of adolescent girl’s about their bodies? I heard these recently at one of my camps for high school girls. It makes me sad knowing what girls are facing these days, and too often without guidance and support. The following are just a few of the statements as expressed by these teens.
“I’m fat; I wish I was skinnier; I feel hopeless about my body; I feel ugly; I’m gross; I’m not toned enough; my body is not what I wanted; I hate my chubby belly; I’m not good enough; I hate my stretch marks; I’m not proportional; I wish I had a flatter stomach; I have flab, not abs; I have hippo hips; my body doesn’t make sense; I have too much acne.”
There were negative comments about their hair, eyes, ears, foreheads, noses, lips, smiles, face, necks, ears, arms, fingers, breasts, stomachs, booties, hips, thighs, calves, ankles, feet, toes, and nails, to name a few. Amazing.
And the majority of the girls said they first started to look at their bodies as more than just a body as early as the first or second grade. Many of the insecurities and anxieties about their looks began with flippant comments from parents, teachers, or peers. Some remembered feeling awkward because of their size or early puberty changes. And every single one of these adolescent girls had some negative judgments about their looks.
Every parent of a preadolescent or adolescent daughter needs to be aware of the harmful self-talk running through girl’s brains as well as the costs to her due to their stinking thinking. Girls often don’t feel safe to express these insecurities, but I’d assume that they probably are experiencing some level of angst about how they look. Provide them the perspective and tools to deal with this universal challenge.