A Third of Girls and Young Woman Feel Pressure to Edit Online Selfies

A recent survey commissioned by the Girlguiding’s annual Girls’ Attitudes report has revealed that a third of girls and young women aged between 11 and 21 will not post a selfie online without adding a filter or editing their appearance beforehand.

‘Finding acceptance’ was cited as a common reason for altering photos amongst the 2,186 respondents, with almost 50% admitted to regularly altering their appearance in photos in general.

The annual survey asks females across the UK about their attitudes to their everyday life, in order to gain more understanding of what young woman and girls think about a wide range of issues.

Data from the survey revealed that 40% of those questioned felt sad that they could not appear the same in real life as they did in edited images online.

The data for the 2020 survey suggests that the increased time spent online during the lockdown, coupled with exposure to unrealistic images of girls and young women, is exacerbating the pressures they face.

“I find it hard to go through Instagram because everyone looks perfect and it lowers my self-confidence”, said one girl surveyed.

Girlguiding advocate Phoebe Kent, from Reading, thinks the online influencer culture adds to the pressures and insecurities that young women feel about their online image currently.

“I think now because I’m older I’m able to critique the things I see online and overcome it, but for younger girls and young women it just absolutely knocks your self-esteem”, says Phoebe, who is studying at Warwick University.

Girlguiding chief executive Angela Salt commented “Young people are an important part of our recovery, but they are undoubtedly one of society’s hardest hit by the impact of the pandemic.

“We are proud to be able to offer girls and young women help and support to navigate these relentless pressures and aim to extend our reach further, so, even more can benefit from the support Girlguiding provides.”

There is, however, more positive attitudes shown to natural beauty with almost 75% of the respondents claiming to be against cosmetic procures such as Botox or lip fillers.

The Girlguiding survey results have been submitted to this year’s Women and Equalities Committee inquiry into body image.