Originally published by the author in Examiner.com.
The explosion of social media and digital communication has sparked a war against adolescent girls. The pressure to be perfect, to be all things, and to deny themselves. With all the demands proliferating the media images including advertisements that celebrate the ideal image it is no wonder that adolescent is ripe with triggers that amplify the need to conform for acceptance. Junior and senior high is never easy, even for the popular girls, because social pressure and the internal need to be accepted is all important.
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Dr. Stephen Hinshaw, a research psychologist and scholar at UC, Berkeley has written a piercing book with Rachel Kranz titled "The Triple Bind" on just how tough it is to be growing up female these days.This is an in-depth scholarly examination of the psychological impact of how societal demands increase the mental health deterioration of young females at their most vulnerable ages. For every parent with a daughter this book is a must read for just how much they must work to counteract the effects of these expectations. It is no wonder that the outcomes for women who were educated at all-girls schools in their formative years, is positive for academic and career achievement, as well as more solid self esteem. If removing adolescent girls from the pressure of competing for boys and eliminating the factors that contribute to them thinking that such approval equals self worth is the answer, perhaps more all-girls schools are a must.
While this solution seems extreme the alternate appears to be just as extreme. To lose their sense of self and self-value is something that does not need to happen nor should it. The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was one media platform that addressed the deterioration in female self-esteem during adolescence in response to unrealistic images and their demands on young women. From his exclusive interview with Amazon, the following excerpt from Dr. Hinshaw is almost a warning statement of how far the pressure can cause even the strongest adolescent girl to buckle: