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Category: body image
  • When 80% of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat, here are ways parents can help girls develop a positive body image.

    "'I’m fat.' Those are just two little words, five letters in total, but coming from your daughter, they’re enough to make your heart totally sink. How could a girl who’s typically so kind and accepting of others be so disparaging of herself?" According to the Girl Scouts, 80% of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat because "they’re constantly surrounded by both subtle and direct messages that curvier or heavier girls aren’t as well liked, aren’t as likely to succeed in business, and in general, aren’t going to have as much fun or happiness in their lives." So what can parents do to counteract such widespread cultural messages? In an insightful article, Girl Scout Developmental Psychologist Andrea Bastiani Archibald offers parents several tips on how to respond when your daughter says she's fat and how to build her overall body positivity. Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of body image positive books for Mighty Girls of all ages!

    body-image-blog3-webIt doesn't take long living or working with girls to realize that body image can be a big problem — and that it can start sooner than you expect. Studies have shown that over 40% of 1st to 3rd grade girls want to be thinner and that girls' self-esteem peaks at the age of 9. Parents and educators often want to help the Mighty Girls in their lives develop a positive body image, but aren't sure where to start.

    Fortunately, there are a number of great books that show girls that every body is worth celebrating! From empowering picture books to thought-provoking middle grade and young adult books, these books provide a great starting point to discussions about self-esteem, body image, and self-confidence. We've also included a few books specifically for parents and educators, so that you can help teach girls that they are perfect just the way they are.

    Beyond the titles recommended below, you can discover more books for children and teens that address body image issues in our Body Image book section and more resources for parents and educators in our Body Image & Self-Esteem Parenting section. Continue reading Continue reading

  • brush-your-hair-medusa-squareBy Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Communications Specialist

    Long or short, straight or curly, in ponytails, locs, or a ballerina bun -- there are so many wonderful ways Mighty Girls wear their hair! But hair can also be the source of body image insecurity for many girls as they wonder if their hair is too thick or too flat, the wrong color or the wrong texture. And, of course, even if she loves her hair, there’s always the battle when it comes time to pull out the brush and comb.

    In our new blog post, we're sharing stories about Mighty Girls and their hair. Whether they're celebrating their unique hair, wrestling to keep it under control, or donating it to a worthy cause, these Mighty Girls love their hair -- even if they find it a little challenging at times. They also come to recognize that, in the end, it's not the hair that matters: it's the head underneath!

    In Brush Your Hair, Medusa! by Joan Holub (age 1 - 3), Medusa refuses to take proper care of her long, curly hair, which gets knottier and dirtier with every moment. Her hair is so twisted and matted that, when her grandmother finally arrives, she’s frozen in surprise! Grandma knows the solution, though, and after a hairdresser bravely does battle with her locks, Medusa is sporting a brand new - short and easy to maintain - hairstyle.

    51m-n4bxg9l_1_[1]Most kids will be familiar with the story of Rapunzel, but that’s not the only flight of fancy with amazing hair! In Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia by Laura Lacamara (age 3 - 8), Dalia wakes up one morning to discover that her hair has grown “tall and thick as a Cuban royal palm tree.” When her mother wonders what Dalia will do with her wondrous hair, Dalia has an idea and starts plastering her hair with mud and leaves. The next morning, when she carefully unwraps her towering hair, it turns out that her hair has been protecting something very special! This imaginative bilingual picture book is sure to charm nature-loving Mighty Girls.

    For an equally fanciful story about hair — with a healthy dollop of humor! — check out Laurie Halse Anderson’s The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes To School (age 4 - 8). As a baby, Zoe needed two strollers and two cribs: one for her, and one for her unruly hair. By the time she’s started school, her wild tresses are becoming a problem, deliberately flaunting the strict Ms. Trisk’s first grade classroom rules. Determined to tame Zoe’s hair, Ms. Trisk and Zoe’s parents try barrettes, braids, even duct tape but the hair always springs free. It will take some clever thinking and a willingness to compromise for Zoe — and her hair — to find the right balance between individuality and following the rules. Continue reading Continue reading

  • Editor's Note

    In early July, 14-year-old Mighty Girl Carleigh O’Connell took a courageous stand against body shaming and taught the kids at her school -- and people around the world -- an inspiring lesson about the power of self-confidence. When Carleigh heard from kids at her school that someone had written a body shaming slur across a large cement barrier at a beach in her New Jersey hometown, she decided to pose proudly for a picture with the graffiti in plain view.

    After our Facebook post about Carleigh reached four million people and her story went viral, Carleigh wanted to share more about her story and offer advice to other teens who might also experience body shaming or bullying. Her guest blog post, as well as a selection of resource books and organizations for young people seeking advice or help, is below.

    By Carleigh O’Connell, Guest Blogger

    carleigh-oconnell Carleigh in front of the graffiti

    How does a 14-year-old girl stand up on a graffiti-covered rock that makes fun of her body, take a picture, and then have the picture go viral on the internet reaching over 4 million people? Well, it happened, and it happened to me.

    I am not really sure what made me step up on the rock that day. I do know that I didn't hesitate to do it. I knew it my heart it was right, and looking back, I would make the same decision if I had it to do over again. This entire experience has been a whirlwind, and I have learned so much. One of the most valuable lessons I've learn is that sometimes you have to stand up for yourself when no one else will, and do what people don't expect you to do.

    The way I saw it, I had a choice. I could have just walked away, cried in my room or tried to ignore it altogether, but that wasn't an option for me. I knew the moment I saw the graffiti that I had to respond, and that's exactly what I did. I responded back to someone's hurtful behavior instead of becoming the victim and letting them get away with it.

    Some call this bullying; I just call it "mean." Whoever wrote this wanted to bring attention to themselves. I can only assume that they were trying to be funny or cool around their friends at my expense. So, I turned the tables and highlighted the fact that it wasn't about them, it was about me, and I am not okay with being someone's target or springboard for popularity. Continue reading Continue reading

  • WhatILikeAboutMe[1]By Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Senior Research Intern

    When you’re parenting a Mighty Girl, one of the top priorities is often making sure that she has confidence in herself and her abilities. After all, it’s hard to be daring, smart, inventive, creative, and all the other things we love in our Mighty Girls without being confident that you can handle what comes your way!

    With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of our favorite Mighty Girl books for boosting confidence. Some are fiction, featuring characters that stand proudly facing the world, and others are guides to help your Mighty Girl find confidence in her day-to-day life. Whichever you pick, these books will have your Mighty Girl cheering, “I can do it!”

    For parents who are looking for books to help their Mighty Girl overcome self-esteem struggles, check out our earlier blogs: 15 Self-Esteem Building Books for Mighty Girls and Ten Body Image Positive Books for Mighty Girls. Continue reading Continue reading

  • By Katherine Handcock, A Mighty Girl Senior Research Intern

    When your Mighty Girl was young, you probably marveled at her incredible confidence: no matter what she wore, said, or did, she did it with a big grin that said, “This is who I am, like it or not!” But as kids get older, they start to be affected by the opinions of others, especially their peers. So the 3-year-old who proudly declared, “I’m the best!” can turn into a 5-year-old who says, “Nobody at school likes me!” or “I can’t do that — it’s for boys!”

    Fortunately, while it’s normal for children to have bumps in the road where they question their worth, parents can do a lot to make sure that the bumps are small and that their daughters pass them quickly! By reading books about girls who face challenges to their self-esteem — either from questioning themselves, or brought on by disapproval from others — and overcome them, parents can teach their daughters that everyone struggles with self-esteem sometimes but that everyone is valuable and special in her own way.

    For more reading recommendations, also check out our post on Confidence-Building Books for Mighty Girls. And, if your Mighty Girl experiences self-esteem struggles related to body image, you may also find helpful resources in our post on Ten Body Image Positive Books for Mighty Girls.

    Believing in Yourself

    stand-tallAppearance is often the first thing we think of when talking about self-esteem. In Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, by Patty Lovell and illustrated by David Catrow (age 3 - 8), Molly Lou is tiny and buck-toothed, but it doesn’t doesn’t bother her one bit while Grandma’s around. Grandma always says, “Believe in yourself and the world will believe in you too!” But then Molly Lou has to move far away from her old friends — and beloved Grandma — and soon the local bully is calling her “shrimpo” and “bucky-toothed beaver.” Fortunately, Molly Lou remembers her Grandma’s words and sets out to prove herself — and in the end, even the bully is won over by her talent and determination.

    In Crafty Chloe, by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Heather Ross, Chloe isn’t good at a lot of the things her friends like — dancing, video games, sports— but she’s great at making crafts! So when London manages to get the perfect gift for their friend Emma’s birthday, Chloe declares that she’s going to make Emma an even better present you couldn’t buy in a store. But London’s response — “Good luck with that!” — rattles Chloe’s confidence and pride in her talents. Soon she’s not sure she’ll ever come up with a good idea. In the end, though, not only does Chloe get the inspiration she needs, but what she makes just might help save the day for London too. Continue reading Continue reading

  • We frequently receive questions from people asking for recommendations for specific types of books or movies. In our "Ask A Mighty Girl" feature, we anonymously share select messages that may be of interest to the greater A Mighty Girl community. All messages are shared with the permission of the questioner.


     

    stand-tallDear A Mighty Girl,

    I have a 4 year-old who is starting to show some needs for a self-confidence boost and help standing up for herself. As parents we empower her on a daily basis, but as she goes into the world of preschool and interactions with friends and peers, we see that she doesn't stand up for herself if she gets cut off in line or if someone takes something she is playing with; instead she starts to cry. Recently she does not want to wear any kind of shorts with a print because "kids will laugh at me."

    From conversations with teachers we do not see evidence of this happening, but it is coming from somewhere. I want to get some books that might address these issues directly and am wondering if there are 2 or 3 from the preschool list that you'd really recommend. Continue reading Continue reading

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