Tag Archives: Girl Scout Research Institute

Nationwide Study Finds That Teenage Girls Have Mixed Feelings about the Fashion Industry

Nationwide Study Finds That Teenage Girls Have Mixed Feelings about the Fashion Industry

NEW YORK, N.Y.—The increased scrutiny of the fashion industry and its use of ultrathin models isn’t without validation, as nearly 9 in 10 American teenage girls say that the fashion industry is at least partially responsible for “girls’ obsession with being skinny,” according to Beauty Redefined, a national survey released today by the Girl Scouts of the USA.

The nationwide survey, which included more than 1,000 girls ages 13 to 17, finds many girls consider the body image sold by the fashion industry unrealistic, creating an unattainable model of beauty. Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed say the fashion industry (89 percent) and/or the media (88 percent) place a lot of pressure on them to be thin. However, despite the criticism of this industry, three out of four girls say that fashion is “really important” to them.

A substantial majority of those surveyed say they would prefer that the fashion industry project more “real” images. Eighty-one percent of teen girls say they would prefer to see natural photos of models rather than digitally altered and enhanced images. Seventy-five percent say they would be more likely to buy clothes they see on real-size models than on women who are super skinny.

In addition to celebrities and fashion models, the study also showed that peers (82 percent), friends (81 percent), and parents (65%), are strong influences in how teenage girls feel about their bodies. Girl Scouts of the USA, who partner with the Dove® Self-Esteem Fund to offer self-esteem programming for girls nationwide, will be focusing their core leadership program to address the issue through its uniquely ME!, program.

“The fashion industry remains a powerful influence on girls and the way they view themselves and their bodies,” said Kimberlee Salmond, Senior Researcher at the Girl Scout Research Institute. “There is little question that teenage girls take cues about how they should look from models they see in fashion magazines and on TV and it is something that they struggle to reconcile with when they look at themselves in the mirror.”

The Girl Scout survey comes amid continuing controversy over super thin models, so-called “size zeros.” Critics say the models are dangerously underweight and have charged that the fashion industry’s preference for waif-like women has led to models engaging in obsessive dieting and extreme weight loss, as well as set a poor example for teenage girls. Fashion shows in Madrid, Milan and elsewhere now ban models below a certain body-mass index.

This topic, along with the survey results, will be the focal point of a media event held at Bryant Park Hotel on February 10, 2010, one day before New York City’s legendary Fashion Week begins. With celebrity panelists and expert guests, Girl Scouts of the USA hopes to address the impact of fashion on girls.

The health implications of the preoccupation with super thinness are serious. Nearly one in three girls say they have starved themselves or refused to eat in an effort to lose weight. In addition, 42 percent report knowing someone their age who has forced themselves to throw up after eating, while more than a third (37 percent) say they know someone their age who has been diagnosed with an eating disorder.

The survey, conducted by the youth research firm Tru, also found most teenagers consider weight loss measures—even some of the more extreme— acceptable. Twenty-five percent say it’s acceptable for girls their age to take appetite suppressants and/or weight-loss pills, and nearly one in five consider plastic surgery and/or weight-loss surgery acceptable.

CONTACTS:
Girl Scouts of the USA
Josh Ackley 212.852.8038
[email protected]

Congress, Girl Scouts, Look to Empower Next Generation of Female Leaders

Congress, Girl Scouts, Look to Empower Next Generation of Female Leaders

On Tuesday, April 28th, members of Congress will get a rare glimpse into the evolving perceptions of girls’ leadership during a conversation on “What Girls Say about Leadership: Empowering the Next Generation of Female Leaders.” The dialogue will be hosted by the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA).

The decision to convene a meeting between policymakers and the Girl Scouts was sparked by a recent study released by Girl Scout Research Institute which found that the presidential election, and the intense campaign season that preceded it, generated an unprecedented level of interest in civic engagement in young people. During Tuesday’s meeting, participants will take a close look at how girls view the concept of leadership and their role as future leaders.

“As a result of this dialogue on girls’ leadership, we hope that policymakers will have a shared understanding of how this generation of girls understands leadership and the barriers they face to achieving their leadership potential,” said Laurie Westley, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, Advocacy, and the Research Institute, GSUSA. “America’s girls need more support to become the leaders they aspire to be and the leaders our nation needs. This meeting offers an opportunity to explore this important topic.”

“Research with girls across the country demonstrates that the current notion of leadership as command and control often does not resonate with girls. Girls are redefining leadership to be connected to making a difference in the world—and are asking for support from adults to do the same,” said Judy Schoenberg, Director, Research and Outreach, GSUSA.

Congressional members will be addressed by Connie Lindsey, GSUSA National Board Chair; representatives from GSRI and several girls from the Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capitol council who will share their insights on their leadership experiences and goals.

When questioned about her reasons for wanting to be a leader, a 9th grade Girl Scout from Atlanta remarked, “I want to be a leader for girls everywhere because lately I haven’t seen a single role model out in the world that I can look up to…”

Immediately following the briefing, new female members of Congress will be inducted into Troop Capitol Hill, an honorary Congressional Girl Scout troop open to all Congresswomen.