Girls come to my Growing up Female event starting at age 9; most of them avert their eyes when I reference certain body parts. They show signs of shame about their unique body parts/girly parts even at this young age. This is nothing new to me. What is new is a recent study that shows girls have significant concerns about their bodies and appearances as young as age 5. Around 50% of girls at age 5 were already self conscious and overly concerned with body weight. This is a huge concern! On the other hand, it really doesn’t surprise me. Girls are bombarded with confusing messages about their bodies, their appearances, and their value from birth on. It should not surprise us that it sinks in and that girls are affected. It’s time we rethink how we talk to girls. It’s time we intentionally send healthy and clarifying messages to girls starting at birth. This is a solvable problem. Language is powerful and each of us can choose how we talk to girls and what messages we send.
Media exposure makes a difference as well. The images and messages girls get from all media sources need to be evaluated. We need to step it up to protect the very essence of childhood for our girls.
Please pay attention to how you speak and what topics you focus on when talking to girls. It matters more than you know. Your comments, your interventions, and your opinions make a difference.
We cannot ignore our next generation of women.
You will hear more from me on this issue in the near future.