Self Love Crisis: 1 In 2 Women Worldwide Feel More Self-Doubt Than Self-Love

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Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

A global report launched today by The Body Shop has identified a self-love* crisis for women around the world, with one in two women feeling more self-doubt than self-love, and 60% wishing they had more respect for themselves. The Body Shop Global Self Love Index is a first-of-its-kind study, commissioned to inform a long-term commitment from The Body Shop to always use its voice to build self-esteem. As a result, The Body Shop is launching a global movement called the “Self Love Uprising, supported by activist and actress Jameela Jamil and Canadian born Sara KuburiThe Millennial Therapist. In addition to these global partners, the movement will also be supported by beacons of self love and activism on a local level by what The Body Shop has coined as “Leading Lights”. Founder of Future Ancestors Services, Larissa Crawford (Canadian), Actor & Activist, Tommy Dorfman, Writer & Still Kickin Founder, Nora McInerny, and Immigrant Rights Activist & Speaker, Sara Mora (all American), will represent The Body Shop in North America for the duration of 2021 as the brand kicks off various activist initiatives throughout the year.

The study, designed by The Body Shop and leading market research firm Ipsos, ran between November and December 2020 with over 22,000 people in 21 different countries. The Self Love Index comprises a number of academic measures of self-worth, wellbeing, and happiness, and reveals how age, gender, country, and living standards impact how people feel about themselves.

South KoreaSaudi Arabia and France rank lowest for self-love, whereas DenmarkAustralia, and the United States rank the highest. People in Canada have a Self-Love Index score of 51, 2 points below the Global average score (53), but above the UK (50) and Sweden (50).

Further key findings of The Self Love Index include:

  • Covid-19 has had a slightly more positive impact on women’s self-love than negative. In Canada, almost two thirds of women (64%) state that the COVID-19 pandemic has not changed how they feel about themselves.
  • Frequent users of social media have lower levels of self-love, however they are twice as likely to say they get the emotional support they need, compared to non-users.
  • 37% of single women, and 38 per cent of minority women, rank in the lowest quartile on the Self Love Index, compared to 21% of married and 25% of non-minority women.
    • People from minority groups in Canada have a Self-Love Index of 46 compared to 53 among those not from minority groups. 34% of those who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual and 38% of people with disabilities taking part in the survey are in the lowest 25% of self-love scores.
  • Frequent feelings of anxiety and signs of depression are felt by one in four people in Canada a similar level to the global average. Women (28%) are more likely than men (23%) to worry too much.
  • People in Canada who are single have lower Self-Love, with an Index score of 46, compared to 53 among those who are married.
  • Self-Love increases greatly with age in Canada. Those under 35 are significantly more likely to be in the lowest 25% of the Self-Love scores.
  • The top three causes of low confidence among women are: the state of the world (e.g. politics, the economy) (29%), financial status (27%), physical wellbeing (24%).
  • Younger women struggle with self-love. Nearly 50% Gen Z women fall into the lowest self-love category, compared with less than 20% of those that are Gen X or older.

One of the most surprising findings of the research is that overall, Covid-19 has had a slightly more positive impact on women’s self- love than negative. However, women with low self-love were six times more likely to say Covid-19 had a negative impact on their self- love, and women with financial worries also say Covid-19 had a negative impact, suggesting that the pandemic has compounded self- esteem issues for the most vulnerable women in society. Resilience is also linked to self-love: the higher a person scored, the more likely they were to say they are quick to bounce back from tough times.

One divisive issue when it comes to self-love is social media. Frequent users of social media are twice as likely to say they get the emotional support they need compared to non-users, indicating social media networks may play a valuable role in providing support networks for women. However, the research also shows that heavy social media users have lower levels of self-love, are more likely to compare themselves to others, and are often more unhappy with their body.

“For many women, the pandemic – although unpleasant – has offered a space for reflection, reprioritization, and authenticity,” said The Body Shop Self-love Expert Sara Kuburic. “Many have embraced who they are, stripping themselves of pressures to show up or “be” a certain way. But, for those women who struggled with self-esteem prior to Covid-19, they have found the isolation and lack of social support confronting and painful because it robbed them of the external sources that masqueraded as self-esteem. In this increasingly online world too, if a woman is using social media as her primary means of building or outsourcing her self-love and validation, the unrealistic expectations and comparisons can become detrimental and amplify struggles of self-acceptance.”

The Body Shop will use the findings from the Index to review and inform its own practices, especially across its marketing and product portfolio. The aim is to spread one million acts of self-love in one year, to create more love and positive change in the world.

Hilary Lloyd, Vice President Marketing & Responsibility for North America said, “As an activist brand, our mission is to fight for a fairer and more beautiful world. In order to create a positive change in the world, we must start with creating a positive change within. We call for people around the world to rise up with self-love, especially in a society that promotes self-doubt and insecurity. We are excited to embark on this journey to drive change individually, in the beauty industry and beyond.”

“I see the lack of self-love as an emotional pandemic, and one which is sadly hitting younger generations the most,” Actress and activist Jameela Jamil added. “Self love is an inside job, so let’s all take just one positive action towards loving ourselves. As a woman, being proud of yourself and believing you are ‘enough’ as you are, is an act of social and political resistance.”

SOURCE The Body Shop

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