As most people know, Dove release a series of reports each year, which they've conducted in a bid to get a better idea of how men and women feel about themselves. Whilst the adult reports show some clear issues with body image and self-esteem, some of the saddest and more alarming statistics can be found in the reports focused on young girls.
The Dove Global Girls Beauty And Confidence Report - which was conducted by Edelman Intelligence - interviewed 5,165 girls aged between 10 and 17 across 14 countries. Each girl was asked a series of questions about the way they view themselves, beauty ideals, the media and more.
A heartbreaking 80% of those in the report considered themselves to have low body esteem, and 55% avoid spending time with friends or family, or even trying out for a team or club of their choice if they're not happy with how they look. That's a lot of experiences and opportunities potentially lost, simply because of being unhappy with your body. 70% of girls would stop eating or risk their health in another way, with the same percentage feeling that they wouldn't be as assertive or express their opinion due to not feeling good about the way that they look.
Of the 20% of girls who said that they had high body esteem, 78% said that they thought that they were beautiful, despite what ideals and messages the media perpetuate. When the girls with low body esteem were asked the same question, only 12% of them described themselves as beautiful.
But not everything is doom and gloom, because the report also shows that the next generation are pretty media-savvy when it comes to subliminal messages about appearance. 70% of the girls surveyed believe that too much emphasis is put on beauty as the root of all happiness, with 68% wishing that the media would do a 'better job' when it comes to representation and featuring more diverse ideals of beauty.
'Our research shows that a girl aged 17 is more likely to experience lower happiness and life satisfaction than a ten year-old,' said Dove's Global Vice President Sophie Galvani. 'This is a crucial moment in a girl's life where proactive intervention and support is needed.'
If you ever needed proof that we need to work harder to make an effort with young girls when it comes to societal influence and beauty standards, here it is.