THE SUPERGIRL DILEMMA: GIRLS FEEL THE PRESSURE TO BE PERFECT, ACCOMPLISHED, THIN, AND ACCOMMODATED.
The non-profit organization website, Girls Inc, recently added an article about the “SuperGirl Dilemma”. The article discusses the increasing pressures girls in today’s society face. These include the pressure to be thin, nurturing, passive, intelligent, stylish, and able to please. The article discusses key findings from recent surveys that prove the dilemma exists. More importantly, however, it provides support that can help those facing the dilemma.
I cannot count how many times I have seen society portray and discuss the “perfect” girl. Even worse is when someone acknowledges that this ideal girl does not exist, but does nothing to reach out to those who have been affected. So when I came across this article about the “SuperGirl Dilemma” I mentally applauded the people behind it. The article provides actual evidence to prove it is a real,and daunting, issue.
A 3rd grade girl interviewed for this research said, “It is hard to live up to what everyone wants for us. We need to do things at our own pace and in our own time. And just believe in us; support us as we grow up”. I’m sorry…what?! This is a seven year old girl speaking. She is at the age where life should be about exploring and having fun. Doesn’t it prove that society is doing something wrong when a seven year old is already feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders. Girls deserve the support they want and need. This is why Girls Inc is the perfect resource for those in need of it. The statistics present in this article alone are enough to comfort any girl who thinks she is alone.
Key findings and conclusions:
–Persistent gender expectations are being compounded by a growing emphasis on perfection, resulting in mounting pressure on girls to be supergirls. Three-quarters of girls (74%) in the study agree that girls are under a lot of pressure to please everyone, and 84% of these girls say that they dislike that this is true.
–Girls say they are under a great deal of stress today. Three-quarters (74%) of girls in grades 9-12, over half of girls (56%) in grades 6-8, and just under half of girls (46%) in grades 3-5 say they often feel stressed (describes them “somewhat” or “a lot”).
–Girls want to seize the opportunities available to them, with 71% of participants reporting that they aspire to go to college full time after graduating from high school. However, stress and concerns such as the cost of college undermine girls’ quality of life, particularly as they get older.
–Support systems bolster girls’ ability to believe they can achieve their dreams and endure stress, and yet one in ten girls (12%) and one in five high school girls (20%) say they do not know three adults to whom to turn if they have a problem.
–Girls and boys face different stereotypes and concerns—girls are expected to be the nurturers and caretakers; 84% of girls and 87% of boys believe girls are “supposed to be kind and caring.” Boys, on the other hand, are expected to be protectors; 88% of girls and 94% of boys believe that boys are “supposed to be able to protect themselves and others.”
–Women are especially frustrated by the limiting expectations facing girls, because these challenges echo their professional and social struggles. Eight in ten women (84%) believe that girls are under a lot of pressure to please everyone; 91% of these women dislike that this is true.
Girls Inc also provides support services. In every article they publish, including this one, a section at the bottom discusses what Girls Inc is about and what they can do to help. How many websites do you know that offer this kind of support? I could probably count the ones I know about on one hand. It is obvious that we live in a society which is becoming more and more dependent on the internet. Therefore, websites, like Girls Inc, could be a reachable source for those girls who need support they cant get at home.
My last two blog posts have been about the negative so I thought this one should be positive. I wanted to show that not everyone in the world believes there is a “perfect” woman. I also wanted to provide links to a place that can help. www.girlsinc.org A woman’s life, though admittedly not the easiest, doesn’t have to be a life of anxiety and insecurity. There is always someone who feels the same and there is always someone who wants to help.
Oh and P.S.
Not all boys are duped by the media.
I AM STRONG BECAUSE I CAN LIFT MY OWN WEIGHT. I AM SMART NOT JUST BECAUSE I GET A’S. I AM BOLD BECAUSE I AM NOT AFRAID TO STICK UP FOR MY RIGHTS.