Primary school pupils should be taught how the media use airbrushing to manipulate pictures of women, according to a report revealing that girls as young as seven are worried about their bodies,linking appearance to happiness and self-esteem.
Even at seven, they believe girls who are slim and pretty are more likely to be happy, well-liked, friendly and clever, while those who are overweight or less attractive are more likely to be unhappy, lonely or victims of bullying. Negative comments and teasing by family members about appearance and weight are one of the most damaging influences on girls' self-image, according to the research, which calls on parents and others not to criticise looks and to offer reassurance instead.
Girl Guiding UK. (2007). Girls shout out! Under ten and under pressure. London: Girl Guiding UK.