Mirrir, Mirror - Body Image in Girls
As a mom of nine year old, it was disheartening to read about a new study Cambridge University just released that focused on the body image perceptions of groups of girls aged six, nine and twelve. The girls, all with healthy body weights, were invited to have their photos taken. Then, the images were digitally altered to show three bodies getting thinner and three getting bigger. Each girl was asked which image they thought was accurate and in contrast, which one they would prefer to look like.
In what should be surprising but isn’t, the majority of the girls perceived themselves as being larger than they really are and that many already wanted to be thinner.
The young girls were then shown photos of other girls and women and asked whether they would like to get to know the people in the various photos. The girls' first response was to judge the people in the photos as interesting (worth getting to know) if they were "thin", but not if they were "fat or chunky".
The good news? Their responses were quickly modified when further information about the people in the photo was given, for example "What if I told you she was a champion swimmer?"
Psychologist Dr Terri Apter said: 'Of course it is upsetting to see perfectly normal girls feel dissatisfied with their healthy bodies, but the exercise also showed how eager girls are to engage with sensible reflections about the meaning and varieties of attractiveness.'