Am I ugly?? Do I need cosmetic surgeries?
This is an important question may every one asked himself or herself. Am I really ugly? Do I need cosmetic surgeries? I say everybody is beautiful. If you don’t agree with me you are in the wrong way. If you think you are ugly you just don’t find someone who loves you, who will say you are the most beautiful person in the world in close future. Ten thousand people every month Google, “Am I ugly?. Faye is 13 and she lives in Denver. And like any teenager, she just wants to be liked and to fit in. It’s Sunday night. She’s getting ready for the week ahead at school. And she’s slightly dreading it, and she’s a bit confused because, despite her mom telling her all the time that she’s beautiful, every day at school, someone tells her that she’s ugly. Because of the difference between what her mom tells her and what her friends at school or her peers at school are telling her, she doesn’t know who to believe. So, she takes a video of herself. She posts it to YouTube and she asks people to please leave a comment: “Am I pretty or am I ugly?” Well, so far, Faye has received over 13,000 comments. This is an average, healthy-looking teenage girl receiving this feedback at one of the most emotionally vulnerable times in her life. Thousands of people are posting videos like this, mostly teenage girls, reaching out in this way. But, what’s the problem with all of this? Well, surely we want our kids to grow up as healthy, well-balanced individuals. But in an image-obsessed culture, we are training our kids to spend more time and mental effort on their appearance at the expense of all of the other aspects of their identities. So, things like their relationships, the development of their physical abilities, and their studies and so on begin to suffer. Six out of 10 girls are now choosing not to do something because they don’t think they look good enough. These are fundamental activities to their development as humans and as contributors to society and to the workforce. Thirty-one percent, nearly one in three teenagers, are withdrawing from classroom debate. They’re failing to engage in classroom debate because they don’t want to draw attention to the way that they look.
It’s also damaging health. Teenagers with low body confidence do less physical activity, eat fewer fruits and vegetables, and partake in more unhealthy weight control practices that can lead to eating disorders. They have lower self-esteem. They’re more easily influenced by people around them and they’re at greater risk of depression. And we think it’s for all of these reasons that they take more risks with things like alcohol and drug use; crash dieting; cosmetic surgeries; unprotected, earlier sex; and self-harm. The pursuit of the perfect body is putting pressure on our healthcare systems and costing our governments billions of dollars every year. How do we do that? Well, talking, on its own, only gets you so far. It’s not enough by itself. If you actually want to make a difference, you have to do something. And we’ve learned there are three key ways: The first is we have to educate for body confidence. We have to help our teenagers develop strategies to overcome image-related pressures and build their self-esteem. Now, the good news is that there are many programs out there available to do this. The bad news is that most of them don’t work. I was shocked to learn that many well-meaning programs are inadvertently actually making the situation worse. So we need to make damn sure that the programs that our kids are receiving are not only having a positive impact but having a lasting impact as well. The research shows that the best programs address six key areas: The first is the influence of family, friends, and relationships. The second is media and celebrity culture, then how to handle teasing and bullying, the way we compete and compare with one another based on looks, talking about appearance — some people call this “body talk” or “fat talk” — and finally, the foundations of respecting and looking after yourself. These six things are crucial starting points for anyone serious about delivering body-confidence education that works. An education is critical, but tackling this problem is going to require each and every one of us to step up and be better role models for the women and girls in our own lives. Challenging the status quo of how women are seen and talked about in our own circles. Let me ask you when was the last time that you kissed a mirror? Ultimately, we need to work together as communities, as governments, and as businesses to really change this culture of ours so that our kids grow up valuing their whole selves, valuing individuality, diversity, inclusion. Right now, our culture’s obsession with image is holding us all back. But let’s show our kids the truth. Let’s show them that the way you look is just one part of your identity and that the truth is we love them for who they are and what they do and how they make us feel. Let’s build self-esteem into our school curriculums. Let’s each and every one of us change the way we talk and compare ourselves to other people. And let’s work together as communities, from grassroots to governments, so that the happy little one-year-olds of today become the confident change makers of tomorrow. Let’s do this.