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Girls as young as seven feel pressure to look perfect – Girlguiding UK study


By Terrileigh Wilkinson

Girls as young as seven are under pressure to aim for the perfect body image, according to a new survey.

The annual Girls’ Attitudes study by Girlguiding UK, published on October 4, showed a staggering 36 per cent of girls aged seven to 10 felt the pressure to be body confident.

The study said: “From as young as seven, girls say they feel embarrassed and ashamed of how they look. Fear of their bodies being criticised holds them back from doing everyday things they would like to do.”

Out of the 559 girls who took part in the study:

  • 36 per cent said people make them think that the most important thing about them is how they look.
  • 38 per cent believed they weren’t pretty.
  • 35 per cent stated women were seen as an image, rather than having abilities.
  • 23 per cent believed they had to be perfect.

Girlguiding UK said it is lobbying Parliament about gender equality in advertising, and how sexism in the media is affecting girls.

Members aged seven to 25 can also get a “Free Being Me” badge, which teaches girls about airbrushing and challenges the narrow image of beauty which is presented in the media.



Gabriela McDermott, a 21-year-old teaching assistant from Middleton said: “I don’t think it should be an issue for a child to be unconfident with their body.

“They shouldn’t be comparing to anything, they’re still growing. I think social media does have an impact to a certain extent.

“Children who I work with will have come across people’s bodies in articles and TV, and I suppose it does cross their minds.”


Anne Poole, a 46-year-old mother from Middleton, said: “My youngest child is only 11. Children should be playing out with friends, not hating their body.”


Diana Osborne, 48, works as a children’s NHS disability support worker. She said: “I think the media do have an effect on image, children grow up seeing skinny models and photoshopped images.”

What do you think?