FIRST in a series about women's self-esteem
Does it surprise you that researchers have found a link in women between self-esteem and mental health?
In a process called self-objectification, early teens learn to think of and treat their own bodies as objects of the desires of others. The American Psychological Association's Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls suggests that our society's sexualization of girls and the resulting early self-objectification hold young women back from developing healthy sexuality and the mindset that goes with it.
"Frequent exposure to narrow ideals of attractiveness is associated with unrealistic and/or negative expectations concerning sexuality," says the APA's study. "Negative effects (e.g., shame) that emerge during adolescence may lead to sexual problems in adulthood."
The APA's report also says that in adulthood, women may cripple themselves emotionally by trying to conform to unrealistic standards of ideal female beauty.
Based in Chicago, Sandy Dechert has been covering women's health for Examiner.com since the zine's official startup. She has reported on health issues with Olympic athletes, Sheryl Crow, Robin Roberts, Mary Tyler Moore, and other newsmaking celebs. Sandy also covered the 2012-2013 influenza epidemic, top women's health news of 2012 (including prevention), and the fungal meningitis outbreak.
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