Cultural pressures on teenage girls are intense and often dangerous. As modern society and the media demand that teenagers be thin, attractive, accomplished and generally perfect, many girls develop unhealthy behaviors. Many also suffer from anxiety and self-esteem issues because they can’t measure up to the unreasonable standards demanded of them. Parents need to take action to protect their daughters from these societal pressures.
Teenage Girls Have to Look Hot
Even as they’re in the middle of figuring out their personal and sexual identities, teenage girls are bombarded by cultural and advertising messages that pressure them to look “hot” at all times. These messages drum home the idea that the value of a young woman is determined solely by her appearance.
Pressure to Succeed
Increasingly, teenage girls are pressed to know what they want to do with their lives at a very young age and to work relentlessly to succeed in their chosen field. The pressure to get into a good college forces girls into unmanageable schedules.
The Glamour of Drugs and Alcohol
Although most teenage girls are told at home and at school to avoid drinking and drugs, the messages they get from the media often differ. When they see young music, film and TV stars living unhealthy lives in public, teenage girls feel the pressure to emulate them.
The Value of Fame
Increasingly, teenagers want to be famous more than anything else, even more than desiring a happy life or success in a career they love. The need to be popular is confirmed by the drive to collect “likes” on Facebook posts or followers on other social media platforms.
No Mistakes Allowed
Many teen girls feel that they have to perfect at everything they do all the time, with no mistakes tolerated. If a girl makes a big mistake, she might feel as if her world is crashing down around her.
Pressure to Be Thin
It’s not enough for a teenage girl to be pretty or even hot. Society demands that she must also be thin, sometimes dangerously so. Media messages label normal-sized girls as “plus-size,” and many girls feel that if their clothing size is larger than a 2, they’re fat. As a result, eating disorders and body image issues are on the rise.
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You’re Only as Good as Your Accomplishments
Long before they should be thinking about creating a resume, many college-bound teenage girls have already learned that the measure of their value consists solely of their accomplishments. The pressure to excel in academics, sports, community service and other extracurricular activities can be overwhelming.
Bullies Online and Off
Some teenage girls have to face bullying at school, which often leads to them feeling ashamed when they have no reason for shame. Cyberbullying can mean that these girls don’t even get respite when they go home.
What other pressures does your daughter face? Share with us in the comments.