Teaching to ban bad body image
EIGHT in 10 girls are unhappy with their appearance.
Why, they wonder, do they not look like the leggy blonde on the cover of the magazine? Why don't they have clear, flawless skin, toned thighs or deep-set cleavage?
Because they're already perfect, just the way they are.
Katie Pitsis, motivational youth speaker and founder of Free Spirit Girl: A girl's guide to inner strength, is dedicated to helping young women across Australia appreciate, respect and love themselves for who they are.
"A lot of young girls look at photos in the media and they believe these images to be the ideal stereotype for beauty," she said.
"They believe this is how they should look to be accepted by society and they compare themselves to these people without realising they are Photoshopped, under lighting and wearing lots of make-up.
"It's an unachievable level of beauty and it can cause so many young girls to lose their confidence, self-esteem and respect.
"This can lead to eating disorders, depression, suicide and it can make girls a target for bullies.
"When I was 16 I created Free Spirit Girl as a support network for young girls because I've always felt motivated to help them.
"Low self-esteem and negative body image is a huge challenge for women to face and the personal development, self-empowerment and leadership programs run by Free Spirit Girl supports these women and teaches them to love themselves unconditionally, 100% for who they are.
"Free Spirit Girl identifies the root causes of women's negative beliefs.
"We help them to mentally overcome these feelings, stand up to peer pressure and teach them the importance of self-acceptance.
"I love the work I do and it's so amazing when I see how much the programs at Free Spirit Girl help women. It is just so rewarding."
Katie will present a special information evening, entitled "Confidence tips for teen girls to love the body you're in", at Grafton High School on November 22.
It will be for teenage girls and their parents and look at how to improve self-esteem and a positive body image.
"This will be so invaluable for young girls and their mothers and we just want to support our locals to feel great," Katie said.
The event starts at 6pm, entry costs $5. Proceeds will be used to support homeless teens on the Mid North Coast.