Surprising Self-Esteem Statistics

New research finds a girl's inner beauty critic moves in by age 14
TORONTO, March 23, 2011 – New global research by Dove of women ages 10-64 has found a girl's inner beauty critic moves in by the time she is 14 years old and continues to erode her self-esteem as she ages. The research suggests, however, that positive role models could help young girls cope with beauty pressures, so they can see beauty as a source of confidence, not anxiety.

The Dove Real Truth About Beauty research found that by the age of 14 more than half (55%) of Canadian girls already feel pressure to be beautiful. By the time they are 29, this number increases to 96%. After the age of 14 girls increasingly become their own worst beauty critic. While only 10% of girls 10-14 put pressure on themselves to be beautiful, this number climbs to 59% of women 18-64.

The research was released today at Dove's New Dish on Beauty event, which brought together an extraordinary group of women reflecting a broad range of experiences, insights and opinions for an intimate and revealing discussion of issues surrounding beauty and self-esteem. Participants included:

  • • Jeanne Beker, Host/Segment Producer, Fashion Television
  • • Shelley-Ann Brown, two-woman bobsled silver medalist, 2010 Olympics
  • • Geneviève Borne, television host and model
  • • Sarah Taylor, MuchMusic VJ
  • • Lisa Naylor, counsellor and self-esteem expert

The Real Truth About Beauty research suggests that, while beauty pressures can have consequences for young girls, having positive role models in their lives could help limit their negative impact:
  • • Nearly half (47%) of Canadian girls between the ages of 10 and 17 have avoided social activities like going to the beach, participating in physical activities, going to school or giving an opinion because they feel badly about the way they look.
  • • Girls are more likely to have avoided social activities if they feel pressure to be beautiful. Globally 70% of girls, who feel pressure to be beautiful from 'friends', have avoided social activities compared to only 46% of girls who feel no pressure to be beautiful.
  • • While 67% of girls without a role model say they have avoided certain social activities because they feel badly about the way they look, only 57% of girls who have a role model say this.
  • • While 13% of Canadian girls (ages 10-14) are comfortable calling themselves 'beautiful', this number slides to 6% for girls ages 15-17 and to only 3% for women (ages 18-64); the percentage of girls who claim to be confident declines from 76% of girls 10-14 to only 56% of girls 15-17.

"Dove's research suggests that there is much work to be done to help young girls deal with the beauty pressures that mount between their tween years and early adulthood," says Sharon MacLeod, Dove director. "There is a significant opportunity to intervene early-on to help young girls address their sources of beauty anxiety, to develop a positive relationship with their beauty and realize their full potential."

Discussing beauty issues, role models

Participants in Dove's New Dish on Beauty discussed the key challenges emerging from the Real Truth About Beauty research and identified opportunities to help young girls identify positive role models in their lives.

"The most important thing women can do to help girls build a foundation of confidence and self-esteem is to lead by example, by allowing young girls to see that you are confident in your own skin and joyful about who you are," says Olympic medalist, Shelley-Ann Brown. "The best role model is a woman who knows who she has been and who she wants to become, while being proud of who she is today."

Dove Movement for Self-Esteem empowers women

The insights provided by the Real Truth About Beauty research and Dove's New Dish on Beauty event support the work of the Dove Self-Esteem Fund and the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem to inspire and empower women everywhere to play a positive, mentoring role in a girl's life.

Women can support self-esteem in girls by:
  • • Joining the conversation at www.facebook.com/dove
  • • Downloading free self-esteem education tools at www.dove.ca to help girls feel more confident in themselves
  • • Sharing an inspiring message with a young girl and encouraging her to develop a positive relationship with beauty
  • • Attending or hosting a local self-esteem workshop in their community to boost girls' confidence

About the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem

The vision of the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem is to help girls and women feel more confident and reach their full personal potential. Dove provides women who sign up and commit to the vision with the tools and opportunities to become more involved in the Movement on an ongoing basis. Since 2005, the Dove Self-Esteem Fund and Dove Movement for Self-Esteem have touched the lives of more than eight hundred thousand girls in Canada and more than seven million girls globally.

About the Real Truth About Beauty research

The Real Truth About Beauty research included two studies designed to explore key issues shaping the development of self-esteem in girls and the relationship women have with their own beauty:
  • • A survey conducted by StrategyOne with more than 1,200 girls ages 10-17 in the United States, Canada, UK, Germany, Brazil and Russia.
  • • A survey conducted by StrategyOne with 6,400 women, ages 18-64, in 20 countries including the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal, the UK, France, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Germany, Mexico, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, Poland, Romania and Spain. This research was a follow-up to similar research conducted in 2004.
For more information, to arrange an interview with Sharon MacLeod or for photos from Dove's New Dish on Beauty event, please contact:
Harbinger
416-960-5100