And that's a problem because real confidence and strength is built on self-acceptance – no, more than that, it's about loving ourselves totally and without question, just as we are. And if we’re at odds with our own body, that’s just not happening.
So what can we do?
In April this year, the first ever Body Confidence Awards took place. It was a celebration of people, brands and organisations "chosen for a number of reasons, including aspirational diversity in size, age and skin tone; responsible use of body imagery and the consideration of diverse body sizes, shapes and beauty; promotion of active and healthy lifestyles and less sexualised imagery." Sounds good so far.
Those involved – among them, Breast Cancer Care, Debenhams, ASOS Curve, Girl Guiding UK, Changing Faces and All Walks Beyond the Catwalk - are allied behind something that certainly sounds positive: the "responsible, considerate promotion of healthy body and beauty ideals".
But why ideals? The All Walks website is still banging on about this notion of a standard that we either hit or miss... We’re humans, not prototypes. However, let's consider it a step in the right direction - and certainly with the likes of Boots No7, Mac Cosmetics and Vivienne Westwood, the fashion and beauty industries had a definite presence there that I'd like to think goes beyond simply cashing in on the theme of self-esteem...
Unfortunately, given the size of the industry, this was just a drop in the ocean of otherworldly, air-brushed images, stretched limbs and coat-hanger proportions. Seems it's still a case of letting the likes of Dove be the figurehead and everyone else can get on with business as usual.
To date, current positive body confidence industry initiatives have amounted to little more than chucking in a few extra laughter lines and some ‘real’ woman with ‘real’ curves amid a self-congratulatory fanfare. And in support, magazines interview a celeb who doesn’t diet or didn't lose her baby fat within a week while showing pictures of TV stars who’ve put on a few extra pounds in bikinis. The reality seems to be that there’s too much money knocking around for risky u-turns. And not being part of things like the Body Confidence Awards hasn't lost them any money or kudos. I want to say Yet…
When it comes to creating sea change, for me, the standouts at the awards are the organisations who have set out to educate – the ones giving us the words to reassure our children that what matters most is what they do, not what they look like.
'Body Image in the Primary School' by Nicky Hutchinson and Chris Calland is one example, as is Pinkstinks, a campaign to fight the media and marketing stereotypes being heaped on young girls. Then there's the Miss Representation documentary and Gok Wan's 'Teens: The Naked Truth'.
So what I'm hoping is this: even as we struggle to unpick the threads of body self-consciousness sewn into our own grown-up world by advertisers and the media, the more we tell our daughters that they are beautiful in the best possible way, the more we will start to believe it about ourselves too.