This new report says body confidence is a “critical issue” and we couldn’t agree more

After interviewing over 10,500 women in 13 countries, researchers found that we have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to body image and confidence — although we can’t say we’re surprised.

The new stats are part of The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report, which honed in on body confidence, self-esteem, and the effects of media on our self-image. Here are a few of their key findings as reported by Huffington Post:

  • 69% of women and 65% of girls say increasing pressures from advertising and media to reach an unrealistic standard of beauty is the key force in driving their appearance anxiety.
  • Low body-esteem is causing the majority of women (85%) and girls (79%) to opt out of important life activities – “such as trying out for a team or club, and engaging with family or loved ones – when they don’t feel good about the way they look.”
  • 70% of girls with low body-esteem say they won’t be assertive in their opinion or stick to their decision if they aren’t happy with the way they look.
  • 78% of both women and girls feel some pressure to never make mistakes or show weakness.

Prefer your upsetting statistics in graphic form? Here you go:

source: Dove via Huffington Post
source: Dove via Huffington Post

Ugh. Just…ugh. This is so not OK.

The U.S. came in 9th in the rankings of percentage of women who feel confident about their bodies, with a disappointing 20% of American women saying they have “high body esteem.” Highest on the list was South Africa with 64% (heck yes!), while Japan was the lowest, with only 8% of respondents feeling satisfied with their bodies as-is. Sad face.

“Pressure from the media” was a common reason given for low body esteem and it really makes you think about how early girls are internalizing the message that thinness = prettiness. Here’s hoping the relatively recent push for more body diversity and positivity in the media — from Tess Holliday on the cover of People to major retailers like JCPenney releasing inspiring body positive videos like this one — has a tangible impact on the way we see ourselves.

The tide is turning. It’s taken a long time, and a lot of damage has already been done, but we truly believe that things are getting better and that bit by bit, all women and girls will come to love their beautiful, amazing bodies.