Every day magazines paint pictures of what girls are supposed to look like. They tell you how to lose weight, perfect that selfie face, and attract the right boy. So much of what is focused on is the physical appearance of girls and this does not always lead to positive body image.
When I first left college I had a job supervising a bookstore and managing promotions for the store. Magazines were all over the place. One of my first lessons was on Cosmo and the layout each magazine cover followed. Every magazine said “Sex” somewhere in the upper 50% of the cover page and always had an attractive slim cover girl. This was not revolutionary, but the person sharing the story with me was.
Jes Baker was a coworker, eventual roommate, and champion of a positive body image movement. While I may not always agree with what she does the mission is the same allow females to feel confident and proud of their bodies. This is not a new idea, but the impact of a positive body image can build confidence and avoid the pitfalls of depression.
So what does positive body image, or a negative body image have to do with teenage girls?
Having a positive body image helps avoid behavioral challenges and mental disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, depression, anxiety, etc. It is the actions that follow negative or skewed self perceptions that really start to scare parents and eventually lead to larger problems. Having a positive body image is similar to preventative medicine.
Your doctor notes that heart disease runs in your family so they suggest a healthier diet and regular exercise. 50 years down the road you have zero heart issues, you are fit, healthy and have no worries. It is not because heart disease skipped a generation it is because you took proactive measures to ensure your good health, it is the same with teenage girls. Building positive body image in your daughter today means you will reduce the risk of dealing with bulimia, anorexia, or depression in the future.
The choice is yours, would you rather fix something that is broken or take actions now to avoid the problem all together.
Resources to build positive body image in girls: