When it comes to beauty, women are their own worst critics. According to the 2016 Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report, only 20% of women in the UK have high body esteem. “Mirror, MirrorOpens in new window🔗", a review of research published by the Social Issues Research Center, reveals that women are much more critical of their appearance than men, and much less likely to admire what they see in the mirror.
“We need to become more aware of the negative comments we make about our own bodies or the way we criticize our own eating patterns, as this insecurity can be picked up by our daughters,” says research health psychologist Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs. “Feeling comfortable and valuing your own body might be tricky in today’s culture, but the more positive and caring you can be to yourself and the way you look, the easier it will be for your daughter to develop confidence about her own body.”
Don’t teach your child self-criticism
If you’re not one of the fortunate one-fifth who likes their looks, then it’s time to consider the impact your body-bashing might be having on your daughter.
“Many women make these kinds of comments without even realizing but they can pass on a subliminal message to our daughters, making them believe it’s natural, even encouraged, for a girl to be critical of, and unhappy with, her own body,” says Diedrichs.
A recent UK government inquiry, “Reflections on Body Image: Report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body ImageOpens in new window,”🔗 found that comments like these are picked up on and mimicked by children. The Adverse Effects of Social Pressure to be Thin on Young Women: An Experimental Investigation of the Effects of “Fat Talk”🔗showed that women only need to hear another woman talking like this for 3 to 5 minutes before their own body confidence decreases.