“About 10,000 people a month Google the phrase, ‘Am I ugly?’“
Many of these searchers are preteen and teenage girls. I encourage you to listen to this TED Talk by Meaghan Ramsey of the Dove Self-Esteem Project.
As a husband and father of two girls, my heart aches and my mind is burdened for the world that they must live in. Our media-saturated culture is providing confusing and often conflicting descriptions of beauty. The confusion is leading girls to search for approval from all the wrong sources, and they often are left feeling even more dissatisfied.
Here are some of the statistics mentioned in Ramsey’s talk:
- 6 out of 10 girls will choose not to participate in an activity because of feeling like they “don’t look good enough”
- 31% of girls are withdrawing from classroom debate because they don’t want to draw attention to themselves
- 1 in 5 have girls have not shown up at school when they don’t feel like they look good
- Girls who think they “don’t look good enough” or “aren’t thin enough” score lower on exams than peers who don’t have those same thoughts
- 17% of women will not go to a job interview on a day when they don’t feel like they look good enough.
- These feelings leave girls and women at a higher risk of unhealthy habits, lower self-esteem, depression, and easily influenced by others.
The research they’ve collected is scary. I am thankful for individuals and a company that wants to be a positive influence for young girls. At the same time, there is something missing from their plan.
I believe the Gospel has the ultimate answer to the question, “Am I ugly or beautiful?” As a pastor, I want all young women to see that they have a much greater beauty and identity as a child of God. As a husband and father, I want my girls to know and believe that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. I want them to know that their acceptance and identity is found in Jesus Christ–and in Him alone. I want them to live with boldness and confidence because the God of grace has transformed them into something more beautiful than anything.