Canadian Women’s Foundation, Beverley Wybrow CEO

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CWF_LOGO_RGBFrom the overt body shaming of Hollywood actors like Jennifer Lawrence and Lena Dunham, to the impossible standards set by photoshopped images in magazines, the pressure for perfection is undeniable. A new study from the Canadian Women’s Foundation reveals that Canadian girls are the latest casualties of a culture that continues to erode the female gender’s self-esteem by promoting an image of beauty that is unrealistic. Girls between the ages of nine and 16 face body shaming and lack of confidence at more than double the rate of young boys. One-in-five Canadians (21 per cent) know a girl who says she’s fat and an almost equal amount (18 per cent) know one who says she’s on a diet. Respectively, only 8 per cent and 5 per cent know boys who say this.

“The bigger problem here is that the negative and long term effects of body shaming are well documented,” says Beth Malcolm, Director Girls’ Fund, Canadian Women’s Foundation. “Body shaming diminishes self-confidence, decision making and the long term potential of Canadian girls. It prioritizes outward appearance, rather than what’s truly important – curiosity, courage, and confidence. Today it is more critical than ever that Canadians continue to nurture resilience in girls.”

The study also found that 17 per cent of Canadians know a girl who thinks she is ugly, compared to only 7 per cent of Canadians who know a boy that feels this way.

“This artificial image of beauty for women – thin, beautiful and always sexually available – is having a negative impact on girls,” adds Ms. Malcolm. “Girls at a younger and younger age are holding themselves up to an artificial and unachievable standard of beauty. These new insights amplify the importance of teaching our girls the thinking skills required to evaluate the images they see in advertising every day with a well-informed, critical eye. At the same time adults need to model the traits and behaviours that will help girls build confidence and resilience.”

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cwf beverley sigSincerely,

Beverley Wybrow

President and CEO

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