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For teenage girls, self-esteem is a complex issue

By Lara Banez

What is the first thing you think about yourself? Smart? Funny? Good-looking? It’s hard to categorize yourself especially over the years, generations have passed and new trends come along that the expectations of a person has also changed.

Though everyone is speculated due to their actions and looks, situations involving girls and how affected they are from a person’s opinions is more complicated compared to guys. Not trying to seclude the male gender but the topic of self esteem is directed mainly towards girls.

These days, online you see girls performing extreme and unhealthy fitness to portray that “nice body” or “fit” type of figure to show off on social media. Ever since then, the idea of beauty and body is considered as full face makeup and curvy, small waist line.

The notion of beauty has peer pressured girls into changing themselves to fit in the titles that social media believes is beauty itself and has caused girls to be self conscious of their own appearance.

A studies show that 75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating.

In order to find out how girls truly think about this issue, 50 female students of Steinmetz College Prep were given a survey questioning on how they view themselves, what does beauty mean to them, does social media and people’s opinions cause self low self esteem and ways to overcome it.

Results:

How do you view yourself?

Average – 52%

Cute- 12%

Pretty – 14%

Beautiful – 22%

 

What does beauty mean to you?

Personality – 42%

Confidence – 8%

To be kind/nice – 8%

Inner Beauty/self love – 42%

 

When are you at your most happiest?

Playing sports – 14%

Listening to music – 14%

Being with friends/family – 40%

Hobbies they enjoy – 20%

Being alone – 12%

 

Is self esteem affected by social media, people’s opinions or both?

Social Media – 18%

People’s opinion – 24%

Both – 58%

 

Advice for people to increase their self esteem?

Ignore them – 38%

Self love – 30%

To be positive – 6%

To things they love/try new things – 14%

Surround yourself with those you love – 12%

Based on the results, there are a number of girls that agree that social media plays an important part in which one’s self esteem is damaged by what is read online and how they view themselves is depended on others’ opinions.

Although statistics shows the majority of what girls think, people don’t really comprehend the concept of words can hurt. As we are trying to understand this, girls were interviewed as they talked about their views of social media and their life experiences of being hurt and offended by words directly and indirectly towards them. As well as how they surpassed all the nasty comments spoken about them.

The Star interviewed girls of various grades.

Has there ever been a time where you felt self conscious about yourself due to what others said?

“Back in elementary school when people would make fun of my hair and I would feel like I was ugly. In 8th grade I kind of got that whole talking from them and straightened my hair all the time until I guess it just burned kind of like I had to cut it a little but I felt like I was not good enough for anyone.” Anonymous, senior

“My aunt said I was gaining weight and I started to see myself differently like with less confidence.” Dayna Orillaza, freshman

“Just that I would let myself believe what people thought of me get to me and believe it was true at that time mainly because when that happened I was going through some problems with my family. It was bad timing and that just added to it so made me feel worst about myself.” Amy Carmona, junior

How did you overcome it? What did you do to make yourself feel better?

“I surrounded myself around positive people that’s cared about me.” Amy Carmona, junior

“By reminding myself that I’m loved by so many people and self love is so important as well.” Jazmilette Machado, senior

“I just had my parents support to tell me but also I just had to learn from that. Confidence is something that is important to us without that we can’t stand up for ourselves. I guess talking to someone about it helped me. I’m more of a person to talk than to keep inside the feelings.”  Anonymous, senior

How has social media play an important role in expectations on females?

“Social Media makes girls feel bad about their appearance because they can’t be as pretty as photoshopped girls.” Danni Dunlea, sophomore

“Girls can see all these girls with really pretty makeup or nice bodies and that can affect the way they see themselves. It can really lower their self esteem because they think they should live up to the expectations of how a pretty girl looks like.” Dayna Orillaza, freshman

It affects girls because of the way “Beauty” is described. Being super skinny, having no “flaws”, no acne, no “fat.” Glisye Del Valle, junior

Advice from the interviews include the following:

The most important thing to remember is to be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Do things you love.

Stay away from all the negativity because if you let it get to you, that is your fault and no one else.

It’s no one’s decision what you believe but don’t let it hurt you. Don’t ignore what people say. Instead, prove to them that they are wrong about you. Show everyone who you really are.

 

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