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More news to make you angry: girls as young as 7 feel pressured to look ‘perfect’

Your latest reminder that being a girl in 2016 isn’t all marshmallows round the campfire, Girlguiding’s annual Girls’ Attitudes Survey is released today – and it looks like society won’t be earning a badge any time soon.

Each year, the Girls’ Attitudes Survey delves into some of the pressures facing girls and young women, from objectification in the media to street harassment and sexist online abuse. This year’s has thrown up some seriously sad stats around body image, with over a third of 7-10 year old girls saying that people make them think that the most important thing about them is how they look.

That means seven year olds already feel as though the way they look is more important to some people than how fast they can run or how well they scored on their spelling test.

And we’re not just talking about wanting to be taller, or have curlier hair – a quarter said they feel the need to be perfect.

Urgh, ‘perfect’. The stupid little seven letter word that plagues females everywhere. The one that says it’s not just enough to try your hardest, but that you have to be the best. Totally flawless. And eat kale. Perfection always involves kale.

Thankfully though, there are people on the case. Girlguiding isn’t just interested in statistics, they actually want to know how to make things better for young women – and when asked, those 7-10 year old girls said the thing that would most improve their lives would be for people to stop judging girls and women on the way they look.

Lyra, a ten-year-old Brownie from South London explains:

I think more girls are judged on their appearance than boys. I don’t think it’s fair that men get treated differently to women. You have to treat everyone the same.

At betty, we completely agree. We know that girls are amazing; they’re smart and funny and brave and ambitious and creative and awesome, and that has basically nothing at all to do with whether they also have long eyelashes or straight teeth or know how to braid their hair like it’s NBD.

It’s like Becky Hewitt, Director of Girlguiding, says:

We are calling on everyone to show girls that they are valued for who they are – not what they look like.

Inspired? Watch this space tomorrow for our collection of 35 compliments to give a girl that have nothing to do with her appearance, and make yourself heard on social media with #GirlsAttitudes and #YouAreAmazing. If you want to learn more about Girlguiding, check out their website

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