Beauty Redefined: Girls and Body Image Survey (2010), a nationwide survey which included more than 1,000 girls ages 13 to 17, shows many girls consider the body image sold by the fashion industry unrealistic, creating an unattainable model of beauty. Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed say the fashion industry (89 percent) and/or the media (88 percent) place a lot of pressure on them to be thin. However, despite the criticism of this industry, 3 out of 4 girls say that fashion is "really important" to them.
The health implications of the preoccupation with unrealistic images are serious. Nearly one in three girls say they have starved themselves or refused to eat in an effort to lose weight. In addition, more than a third (37 percent) say they know someone their age who has been diagnosed with an eating disorder.
Girl Scouts of the USA and the Dove
Self-Esteem Fund have partnered to offer self-esteem programming for girls nationwide and will be focusing their core leadership program to address the issues of body image in the media in relation to self-esteem. In addition to program initiatives, Girl Scouts of the USA has been instrumental in the introduction of The Healthy Media for Youth Act (H.R. 4925) to Congress, by two congresswomen, Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). This bill will work to promote healthy images of women in the media through a grant program that will support youth empowerment groups, media literacy programs, and further research into the effects of the media on women and girls.