Remember the days of fighting for mirror in the girls’ bathrooms in school?
In many secondary schools, the bathrooms were a place to reapply makeup, assess looks and make comparisons.
The teenage years are difficult times for girls especially nowadays, as they are bombarded with images of “perfection” on social media every day.
Many young girls are hearing negative messages about their bodies from peers, adults and the media and this can cause their self-esteem to plummet.
So one high school decided to remove the mirrors from the girls’ bathrooms and replace them with something else entirely.
Laguna Hills High School in California plastered the walls of the bathrooms with positive messages instead of mirrors.
The brightly coloured messages are taped above the sinks and across the bathroom stalls. They proclaim “You are smart”, “You are beautiful” and “You are enough.”
The messages don’t just focus on physical attributes, they read “you are loved”, “you are good enough” and “you are strong enough.”
Instead of looking at their own reflections when washing their hands, the girls will see these positive affirmations instead.
It’s certainly a timely message, considering a recent revelation that 53 per cent of young American girls are unhappy with their bodies by the age of 13, according to this study.
And this number grows to 78 per cent by the time girls reach 17 years old.
The study also found that about age 12, girls’ self-esteem scores tend to plummet, while boys tend to remain constant.
Doubts about physical appearance can cause young girls to withdraw from sports and other activities such as swimming and refrain from giving opinions.
Real Simple released a video recently that showed young girls repeating negative messages they had heard their mums say such as “my diet starts tomorrow” and “I hate my nose.”
The powerful video served to prove that young girls will internalize negative messages about their bodies if they hear adults saying them.
If every young girl could be surrounded by positive messages, we would have much happier and more empowered young women.
We think the positive affirmations are a wonderful change and we hope other schools will consider adopting such measures, even for a brief period of time.