Pain Game; Family THE TEENAGE GIRLS MADE MISERABLE BY THE WAY THEY LOOK... AND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Byline: By LISA SALMON
NEARLY everyone is unhappy about an aspect of their appearance at some stage, but none feel it more acutely than adolescent girls.
Research has found that 82% of girls aged between 10 and 14 sometimes dislike part of their appearance. And it's a tough problem for parents to crack, especially as 84% of girls say it's their friends and peers who have the greatest impact over how good they feel about themselves, not mums and dads.
In fact, friends often exacerbate the problem, with just over half of respondents in a survey by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund saying they would feel most hurt if their best friend or a girl in their class made a spiteful comment about how they looked.
Half the girls identified the way they look and body shape as the biggest cause for them feeling down, followed by school.
And 84% agreed that if there were more female celebrities who represented different body shapes, sizes, ages and skin colour, girls would put less pressure on themselves to look a certain way.
Andrew Hill, a professor of medical psychology who has studied body image and dieting in adolescents, says: "The visual media is obsessed with celebrities, and is sending out messages about their physical appearance which say you can always look better. It breeds insecurity."
He says insecurity often shows in an obsession with weight.
"Research from the 1960s shows a large amount of concern about weight in teenage girls, but the pressures have got greater, particularly with the current publicity about obesity. …