Monday, February 8, 2010

Girls Conflicted About Body Image, Role of Fashion Industry

New research from the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) supports what many parents, educators and youth advocates have believed for years:
The increased scrutiny of the fashion industry and its use of ultrathin models isn’t without validation, as nearly 9 in 10 American teenage girls say that the fashion industry is at least partially responsible for "girls' obsession with being skinny," according to a national survey released today by the Girl Scouts of the USA.
The research also indicates that girls would prefer to see more natural beauty in the media. In fact, 81% of girls would rather see natural photos of models as opposed to the adjusted and airbrushed versions and 75% say they are more likely to purchase clothes shown on real-size models as opposed to stick thin models.

Yet despite these findings, it's clear that girls have a love-hate relationship with fashion and body image. Contradicting the aforementioned findings, 48% of girls wish they were as thin as the models in fashion magazines and 41% prefer to see the latest fashions modeled on thin women than fuller-figured women.

Other findings from GSRI's research include
  • 47% say fashion magazines give them a body image to strive for yet,
  • 65% say the body image represented by the fashion industry is too skinny and 28% say the fashion industry body image looks sick.
  • 31% of girls admit to starving themselves or refusing to eat as a weight loss strategy and
  • 20% of girls consider plastic surgery and/or weight-loss surgery acceptable.
  • However 79% of Hispanic girls, 76% of African-American girls and 72% of Caucasian report being satisfied with their bodies.
The tangled web of girl body image can be seen in nearly every one of these findings.

Body image, the fashion industry's role and these survey results, will be addressed at New York City's Fashion Week by Girl Scouts of the USA. The conversation can be viewed live via online streaming video at on Wednesday, February 10, 5 p.m. CST.

What's Happening Locally

Girl Scouts of Central Texas (GSCTX) recognizes that adolescence is an especially challenging time for girls and their self-esteem. With programs, volunteer trainings and merchandise, GSCTX continually strives to help girls develop into confident young women. Through its "grow strong" initiative, Girl Scouts of Central Texas hopes to help girls untangle their body image and develop a strong, healthy sense of self. Programs such as the Girls' Respect Conference encourage open, healthy conversations about relevant issues like body image and self-esteem, and ultimately assist in the development of confident young women.

Additionally, GSCTX offers merchandise through the shops that girls can feel confident and stylish in no matter what their size or shape. With 75% of girls citing fashion as very important; stylish, affordable and age-appopriate merchandise is essential to meeting the needs and interests of all girls.

For More Information

-Cheryl Black

1 comment:

  1. Rarely have we found a girl, or even a woman who doesn't have these conflicted feelings unless she has learned to dress the body she has in a way that enhances body acceptance and positive body image. For all we bash the fashion industry, and there's lots to bash, we are really in a new age with more choices in clothing for every size and a higher regard for the girl/women who knows how to create a personal style. Learning to dress to change perceptions, while also learning about a healthy LIFE style, how to think critically about the media, and discovering appropriate and empowering role models may resolve some of these conflicts for our girls. Molly and Nan Dellheim, How I Look Journal. see also: A Possible Prevention Tool Comes out of the Closet.