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An Insecure Journey to “Beauty” 

Victoria's Secret Angel

Victoria’s Secret Angel

By Sarah Merrick

Each year around the holidays 9 million viewers and I tune into the one-hour insecurity ride that is the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.”

Weeks later I’m still dazed by self-doubt. Is that how boys think I should look?

Apparently.

The Super Bowl soon follows with guys drooling over the large breasts, tiny waist, and flowing blonde hair of a model savoring a Carl’s Jr. burger. (Likely the only meal she’s had in days.) Her name in 2016 was Charlotte McKinney — and the ad was voted one of the Super Bowl’s best. Read the rest of this entry

Body Image: What Guys Don’t Get

Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis

Do you ever worry that you’re too fat, too thin, or that your breasts or derrière might be too big, too small, too droopy, too lopsided…?

Men are often surprised when they find out that their partners are worried about such things— “You’re beautiful!” they think. Read the rest of this entry

Using Men for Money, Sex and Self-Esteem 

self-esteemBy Adriana Martinez 

Life holds lessons. Some, you must learn first-hand.

As a young teen I had a crush on my brother’s friends. Once, when we were hanging out, my dad ordered me back in the house.

“What were you doing out there with them?”

“Just hanging out.”

“If you keep hanging out with boys you’ll grow up to be a slut.” Read the rest of this entry

You Don’t Have to Give It All Away

Colbie Caillat

Colbie Caillat

Some guys think girls flaunt skin to gain power and superiority over men.

But most do it because “hotness” so often measures a woman’s worth. And a girl likes to feel good about herself.

So plenty of young women feel pressed to put on the act, even if it feels awkward and overexposed.

I’ve created a string of thoughts that come from my women students, Colbie Caillat’s “Try” and Ashley Judd’s response to chiding over her “puffy” face:

* * *

An old boyfriend told me that I wasn’t as attractive as other girls. I asked him why he didn’t think so. He said,

I don’t know. You’re always all covered up. Maybe you’d look more attractive in a cocktail dress. You don’t open your clothes and let men in.

Read the rest of this entry

Confidence: A People Magnet

It works!

It works!

Confidence is a people magnet. It’s also good at drawing emotionally healthier people to you.

And, it’s healthy to have confidence even when you are alone.

But how do you get it?  Read the rest of this entry

Why Do I Care What Others Think?

Trumpeting our successes

Trumpeting our successes

Most people trumpet their successes and hide their failures.

When we win a race, a game, or an award, public recognition gives us a boost. We want to spread the word — and we hope that others will, too.

But when we fail at a project… or basic stair climbing… we hope no one sees the fall. And if they do, we hope they won’t gossip.

Rejection and humiliation make us think we’re no good.

But why do we care? Read the rest of this entry

Abuse evaporated my self-esteem 

You are good enough, even if you don't know it

You are good enough, even if you don’t know it

By Lily Mendez

I was the girl that everyone called a slut. Or that everyone thought would be pregnant by age 16.

That’s what I would say when people asked me what I was like, growing up. Obviously, I didn’t feel real good about myself.

And my low self-esteem was reflected in my relationships with boys.  Read the rest of this entry

Women Slut-Shame More Than Men?

19TIER_SPAN-articleLargeStereotypes and evolutionary psych say men slut-shame because they want to know that their partner’s babies are not some other guy’s.

But women are actually more likely to promote the double-standard. Here’s one study of shaming in action:

McMaster University psychologists told college women that they were studying female friendships. They actually wanted to see how women respond to sexy vs non-sexy women, as pictured above. Read the rest of this entry

From Being Bullied to Being a Star

126b979840ed6dc2c6bc37ef9db24320Young Brittany Mason was bullied relentlessly. And then she grew up to become a star. And an anti-bullying advocate.

Her torment began her first year of high school. Kids teased her, slashed her tires, and threw Barbie doll heads, or red paint, all over her yard.

Homecoming week was the worst. Some students created a giant poster with her picture on it, took it to a pep rally and chanted, “You are ugly.” Afterwards, they chased her from the bleachers and drenched her with water guns.

Britney tried to kill herself, but failed. Thinking back, she adds, “Thank God.”

After the suicide attempt she chose to do home schooling.

She says the experience was scarring and still haunts her.

But since then she has worked to make the best of her life, and that experience.

Kids said she was ugly?

Read the rest of this entry

You’re Better Than You Think

Are women too hard on themselves when it comes to their looks — and everything else?

A Dove ad campaign called “Real Beauty Sketches” has gone viral. In it, women describe themselves to a forensic artist who sketches them from behind a curtain. Next, strangers describe them.

Women used more negative words to describe themselves:

  • (My chin) kind of protrudes a little bit, especially when I smile.
  • My mom told me I have a big jaw.
  • I have a big forehead.
  • I have a fat, rounder face.

Strangers made more positive assessments:

  • Her chin was a nice, thin chin.
  • She has nice eyes. They lit up when she spoke.
  • She has a cute chin.
  • She has very nice blue eyes.

Afterwards, the women were surprised by how much more attractive they appeared in the eyes of strangers who — tellingly — yielded more accurate results.

In fact, Dove’s campaign was inspired by research finding that only 4% of women believe they are beautiful. Meanwhile, beauty can be a huge source of self-worth, which is unfortunate when there is so much more to women — and so much that is more significant.

“Good Morning America” did the same experiment and got the same results.

Last summer’s HBO documentary on supermodels, “About Face,” also found plenty of self-criticism among women who are thought the most beautiful among us. For instance, Carmen Dell’Orefice disliked one photo because it showed her feet, which she deemed “unattractive.” I looked at the photo and saw nothing wrong at all. Perfectly normal and natural looking.

We can be our own biggest critic.

But self-criticism doesn’t stop with our looks.

I’ve noticed that I can be pretty tough on myself. But when I consider how I would advise another person in the same situation I’m much more generous.

Being too harsh on ourselves can be a problem because low self-esteem limits us. When we lack faith in ourselves we don’t try, or when we do try, we are less likely to succeed. Or, we may put others down to feel like we’re better than someone else. But as they say, you can’t love until you love yourself.

If we were more self-accepting and self-loving everyone would likely be better off.

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