Bringing back the confidence of being a woman
Despite the advancements women have made—and continue to make—in our world, low self-confidence still remains a common issue for many women and girls.
In an article published on The Up Lab’s website, the difference between self-confidence and self-esteem was established. While self-esteem refers to peoples’ perceptions of themselves, self-confidence refers to peoples’ view on their ability to perform a certain task.
According to an article published on USA Today’s website, a recent study conducted at Boston College showed that “female seniors left the university with lower self-confidence than when they entered as freshmen”.
Provisional registered Calgary psychologist, Dr. Beatrice Breitling, said the lack of self-esteem in women is largely due to a cultural mindset that accepts the devaluing of women.
While some societies continue to possess an outdated belief system in which women are brought up to think that they are inferior to men, Breitling said there has been a steady decrease in this mindset in many societies.
According to Jennie Palmer, host of feminist radio show ‘Yeah, What She Said,’ and event coordinator of annual feminist march, Take Back The Night Calgary, one of the biggest factors leading to a woman’s decline in self-confidence is her physical appearance. This is particularly troubling for girls entering puberty.
“When girls become about eight to nine years old, they start to become more aware of themselves and how they are perceived,” Palmer said.
“This way of thinking is often brought about through the media that tells them how they should look.”
In Palmer’s opinion, a good way to develop self-confidence is for women and girls to shift their focus towards goals that add value to themselves rather than meager things like losing weight and looking pretty.
Aside from that, Palmer said getting out of their comfort zones and trying out new activities may help women and girls challenge themselves to strive for better things in life and keep their mind away from what the world thinks of them.
“I think women should try to avoid negative messages from the media,” she said. “Stop looking at things that make you feel bad about yourself.”
According to Breitling, developing educational circles provides females with the opportunity to experience themselves not only in the roles they play as daughters, wives and mothers, but as a person with a sense of selfhood.
“Women have to develop a sense of core self, and that will translate into how they lead their lives,” Breitling said.
These educational circles, she said, should not only involve women but also men because they, too, will have to develop an understanding of not having to devalue women in order to feel powerful.