It’s no secret that the body-positivity movement has gained much momentum in the past few years, with diversity and accepting attitudes towards the female body in hopes of improving overall health and well-being. However, a new study is revealing that women’s body confidence is on a steady decline.
According to the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report, which surveyed 10,500 women from 13 different countries, 85 percent of all women and 79 percent of girls admitting that they opt out of important life activities (trying out for a team or club, and engaging with family or loved ones ) when they feel less than positive about their appearance. Nine out of 10 women also said that they forgo eating or put their health at risk in other ways when they don’t feel confident about their body image.
Overall, the results show that low body esteem has become a unifying challenge shared by women and girls around the world – regardless of age or geography.
“This latest research shows that low body confidence is a global issue,” said Dr.Nancy Etcoff, Assistant Clinical Professor Harvard Medical School, Director of Program in Aesthetics and Wellbeing, MGH Department of Psychiatry, in a statement regarding the study. “Though troubling, these results are also unsurprising, given the increasing pressures women and girls face today. We need to help empower women and girls in many ways, including increasing body-confidence education, driving meaningful conversations around the pressures women and girls face, and advocating for change in how females and their appearance are talked about and portrayed in the media.”
The study also found that women (69%) and girls (65%) “cite increasing pressures from advertising and media to reach an unrealistic standard of beauty as a key force in driving appearance anxiety, while 56% of all women recognize the impact of an ‘always on’ social media culture in driving the pressure for perfection.”
While the percentages are still staggering, the campaigns and initiatives that have been popping up left and right are a sign that things are headed in a good direction with the conversation about representation being spread.