“We’re expected to be perfect, like Barbie”: Record number of UK girls are unhappy with their looks

Girls in the UK are becoming more and more unhappy, with appearance being one of the main reasons they felt miserable, according to a new report by the children’s welfare charity, The Children’s Society.

The organisation’s annual Good Childhood Report gathered data on teenagers’ happiness across 40,000 households from different parts of the UK, asking them to give a reason for any unhappiness in their life.

The latest report found that 14% of girls between the ages of 10 and 15 are unhappy with their lives as a whole, and 34% with their appearance.

The report also said that one in seven girls aged 10 to 15 suffers from low mood and distress. This figure is up 21% from 2011. The number of girls citing their appearance as a reason for unhappiness has risen 8% in the past five years.

In contrast, the number of boys unhappy with their lives has remained constant at 11%. Just 20% of boys were dissatisfied with their appearance.

Girls who took part in the study told researchers that boys were often responsible for verbal abuse and criticism of their looks. One teen said: “We’re expected to be perfect, like Barbie dolls or something, and if we don’t then we get bullied.”

Another admitted: “Girls feel pressured by the boys that they should look a particular way and that leads girls into depression or low self-esteem and makes girls feel ugly or worthless.”

The 2015 Good Childhood Report ranked England second lowest for happiness with their body confidence, self-confidence and appearance, just above South Korea, and behind countries including Colombia, Turkey, Spain and Poland.

Source: Children’s Society