I was alarmed Friday morning when I sat down at my computer to work and the first thing I saw was a headline on yahoo news that said “Girl Asks YouTube, Am I Pretty or Ugly”. I had to know about what was going on here so I clicked the link and watch the Good Morning America clip on a handful of young teenage girls posting vlogs asking the rest of YouTube to weigh in on whether or not they were pretty. I watch in disbelief. My heart went out to these girls as I watched their videos and read the comments that fellow YouTubers left for them to read. Terrible things you shouldn’t dream of saying to your worst enemy.
Many thoughts whizzed through my mind: How can I help them to find a way out of this? How can we change societal norms so that this isn’t the focus? Why are people so ruthless? Can someone please make them take those videos down? Of all the thoughts, questions, and concerns that this news story brought to my head/heart there were two I feel ABSOLUTELY NEED TO BE ADDRESSED: One, what are we doing as individuals, as parents, and as a society to breed this kind of insecurity in our young women? Two, how can we build them up from an early age so that they don’t have to ask these questions of others and they grow into strong, secure, confident women.
The sad truth is that it’s not just our young women struggling to place their stake in the world of confidence and self assurance. This is an issue with women of all ages. In fact, research has indicated that when applying for jobs a woman with the same qualifications (if not more) than the male applicant sitting next to them will ask for less money. Why? They aren’t as confident that they deserve more money as their male competition. In fact, women will actually not apply for jobs they are just as qualified to do as men because they lack the confidence in themselves to believe they can do it. While there is no significant difference in IQ between men and women, both men and women perceive men as being the smarter of the two genders.
The way I see it, there is one healthy way to try and rectify this problem. Start building up our young women, so when they grow up, they grow into confident adults who believe they are worth everything that they weren’t meant to believe. Let’s empower our female youth!
Great Ways for Females to Increase Their Own Confidence
The fight against poor self esteem is something that has to start within each individual. Of course, what those around them do and say to help shape their beliefs and outlook on life is key, but at the end of the day, every woman has to decide for herself how much she is worth. Here are some quick and easy ways for young teens and women of all ages to build their self confidence.
This article list 10 great and easy tips for women to build self confidence:
1. Dress sharp.
2. Walk faster.
3. Good posture.
4. Listen to motivation speaking.
5. Be grateful for what you have rather than think of what you don’t have.
6. Compliment others.
7. Sit up front.
8. Talk with authority.
10. Focus on what you can do for others.
Something definitely worth noting in this article on building self-confidence for women is the idea of “teaching people how to treat you”. The overall idea here is that people will treat you how you treat yourself. If you don’t portray yourself as having confidence and being strong then people are more likely to treat you poorly. This will perpetuate a low self esteem, while the opposite actions will promote an increased self esteem due to the fact that those around you will treat you with more respect.
Finally, this quick way to boost your confidence is a “must do”. Number 6 on their list of ways to boost your self confidence is a great one to use whenever possible: “Deal with negative self-talk kindly”. In other words, stop the negative self talk by saying positive things to and about yourself instead. For example, “I am a confident and strong woman”, or “I am qualified for this job and capable of doing it well”.
How to Instill Confidence In Young Women
Here is a list of ways to encourage confidence in your young daughters pulled from two helpful articles: “Raising Confident Daughters in a Changing World” and “Improve Your Teens Self Esteem”. The articles reference parents and daughters but this is a good rule of thumb for anyone who has influence on the youth.
1. Encourage teenage girls in the things they are good at.
2. Show them what healthy confidence in women looks like (by having it yourself).
3. Guide our female youth to have a healthy positive friendships.
4. Talk with teenage girls about their self image.
5. Teach young women that looks really aren’t everything.
6. Encourage and praise them when they do something well.
7. Teach girls that confidence is not the same as being conceited.
8. Don’t act too concerned, but don’t dismiss their feelings. By acting overly concerned you can plant seeds during adolescence that never had any relevance.
9. Give a balanced effort to not only praise her looks but her accomplishments.
You might also want to sign up for ongoing emails and information from a good information source on building self-esteem in teenage girls. Debra Beck offers all kinds of useful information.