Surprise: Our daughters are pressured by friends (not TV or magazines) to be skinny

It turns out that all this blame we've placed on the media telling girls they need to be thinner is wrong. In fact, new research says we should be looking at our daughters friends because they may be influencing these body image problems.

These findings were discovered after 237 girls ages 10 through 17 were surveyed regarding their favorite TV shows, rating how they felt about their bodies, peer competition, and social media activity. They were asked the same questions 6 months later concluding that peer influence affected their self esteem a whole lot more than any celebrities they were exposed to.


I'm not surprised that our female friends have a greater influence on us than movie or TV stars. Most of us know that a lot of these celebrities have trainers and a makeup team to remain flawless all the time. But we see and speak to our friends on a daily basis and even when we aren't in contact with them, they are still present in our social media activity.  

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According to the U.K. Daily Mail, researchers compared media influence and peer influence on young girls and found that the media had nothing to do with their self esteem. Instead, they found that the more peer competition these girls were exposed to, the less they were satisfied with their life.  

Lead researcher Dr. Christopher Ferguson from Texas A&M International University asserts that the study only confirms that peer competition is to blame for teen girls' body issues and eating disorders. This doesn't mean that social media is in the clear, as Dr. Ferguson adds that it can act as a means of bullying adding to the negative body image.

It's sad that we as women are influenced so easily by things our female counterparts think and say about us. Although this study was done on young girls, I'm sure it can apply to adult women as well, who are constantly under the same pressure as well. These effects start at a young age and can cause long term damage. The best thing parents can do when dealing with situations like these with their kids is to be as supportive as possible and instill positive affirmations. As women we should act as teammates instead of acting like competitors since by doing so we  are feeding into this bullying epidemic.

Image via Thinkstock

Topics: study  eating disorder  mental health