Just Say YES – Youth Equipped to Succeed

YESThough I think Beyonce is overplayed “Pretty Hurts” really strikes a chord for me. If any of you were in modeling or pageants as kid you can relate to this song. I got into modeling at a young age; I will never forget when I got an agent. I was in HS running track and cross country but was told I had to quit because my leg muscles were too big (I was 5’8” and 120LBS). In the same meeting I was told I need a nose job and a boob job (thank god I didn’t do either). I worked out besides cross country and track after school for another hour- totaling about 3 hours of cardio a day at 15 years old when I should be going to the movies with my friends. I lived off of toast (with no butter) and fruit. When I had to do runway sadly it was an industry standard for girls who aren't naturally thin to throw up before the show. At 15 I was changing in front of men that were over 18 years old for photo shoots. When I hear any parent say they want their kids to be a model I cringe. I was fortunate that social media was not around back in my day because I continue to see how it effects teens currently.

As a writer for cutegeek I feel we are responsible for communicating to our audience that all girls and women are beautiful inside and out.  I found Just Say YES site that stands for Youth Equipped to Succeed. Just Say Yes is a nonprofit organization helping to equip teens to succeed by educating them through student assembly speakers and classroom curriculum. Their goal is empowering students to say YES to their dreams and goals and no to destructive choices.

My jaw dropped by this quote on their site:  “Teen girls are more afraid of gaining weight than they are of cancer, nuclear war, or losing a parent.”

As I continued to explore the Just Say Yes site I found the below statistics:

The Facts about Self Image

  • 40% of all 9 and 10-year-old girls have already been on a diet – Duke University
  • 70% of 6-12-year-olds want to be thinner – National Eating Disorders Association
  • In one study, 3 out of 4 women stated that they were overweight although only 1 out of 4 actually were – Rader Programs
  • While only one out of ten high school girls are overweight, nine out of ten high school juniors and seniors diet – Rader Programs
  • A study found that adolescent girls were more fearful of gaining weight than getting cancer, nuclear war or losing their parents – Rader Programs
  • Teen pregnancy statistics show that girls who engage in unprotected sex often have lower self esteem - Family First Aid

The Facts about Media Influence on body image

The Facts about teens and Eating Disorders

If you are a teen (or heck you are in your 30’s like me) going through self or body image issues especially due to social media I encourage you to check out this site.  As women we need to stick together, empower each other and continue to deliver this message:

“Say YES to self-acceptance and no to negative body image.”

For more information how you or your school can get involved with Just Say Yes here is their site.