Am I Pretty or Ugly?
There is nothing more beautiful than a confident person. Everybody likes to be around them and in some way, everyone feels a little more hopeful. This is compared to hanging out with a pessimist who sees no silver lining and thinks every glass is half empty. Which person would you rather be around?
When I heard that young girls were making videos on YouTube soliciting opinions from strangers about their physical appearance, I almost didn’t believe it until I saw it for myself. Entitled, “Am I Pretty or Ugly?” these videos portray girls, dressed in regular clothing, inviting viewers to comment on their appearance and stressing upon them to be honest. There were thousands of these videos depicting girls desperate for confidence and a boost in their self-esteem. I clicked on a few to see what kinds of comments viewers were leaving and I shuddered reading some of the hurtful words.
This is really disturbing. You don’t have to stay on the page very long to see that there is a problem in this world when young people are fishing for compliments from total strangers. The girls try to bait the viewers into either agreeing with what other people are saying about them or attempt to hook them into leaving shocking comments.
What’s even more frightening is that online predators will feel like they won the lottery when they view these videos and see the thousands of girls who lack positive self-esteem. They will cast their net wide in hopes of catching one of them off guard at an extremely vulnerable moment. Young people with little self-confidence are exactly who predators are seeking. Boys and girls searching for love and affirmation online are at great risk.
Experts estimate that a girl’s self-esteem peaks at about age nine and then plummets from that point on. There are many factors that contribute to this decline but during the pre-teen years, the body becomes the all-consuming measurement of worth. Self-esteem is closely tied to physical attributes and girls start to feel that smart isn’t sexy and begin to hide their accomplishments. Teenage girls also react to stress more strongly than boys, which can lead to higher rates of depression in girls. The media contributes to this by displaying women in revealing clothes, body postures, and facial expressions which girls try to copy.
Even though kids are influenced by what they see around them, experts still agree that parents have more influence, positively or negatively, with their children than anyone else. As a parent, there are ways you can help to improve your daughter’s self-esteem.
Be careful when making comments about yourself and your daughter, especially when it comes to physical appearance. A mom, who constantly berates her own body or shows dissatisfaction with her looks, will pass that on to her daughter.
Studies show that a girl with a hard-working, involved dad is more likely to attend college and less likely to date an abusive man. It’s also important to encourage your daughter to speak her mind in a respectful, healthy way. Don’t be overprotective, but let girls fail by having them try new things. Dads who overprotect their daughters can make them feel incapable or incompetent.
Children first develop a sense of who they are within their family which means that parents have the opportunity to set the foundation for a very positive sense of self which in turn can lead to everyone winning at home.