The average girl posts 7 photos of herself a week. 24% of 13-24 year olds have said they would rather receive ’50 likes’ than a hug. 63% of girls with low body confidence avoid posting photos of themselves if they don’t like how they look. Shocked? Nah me either.

The Dove Self Esteem Project is launching the #NoLikesNeeded social movement to encourage girls to realise the only ‘like’ that counts is their own. The project starts at the Women In The World event as part of the Generation Girl campaign and I’m going to be there, yay! By using the #NoLikesNeeded hashtag girls will be encouraged to have a little think about their personal ‘branding’ & changing perceptions in our image obsessed society.

Like many young girls I suffered pretty bad with self worth and self love. I absolutely hated my body, I was too fat and simply not good enough. I relied on being called beautiful by peers or strangers & their opinions and words played a huge part in my self esteem. However I have completely turned my life around now and I have a great understanding on what it means to love yourself, from the inside out. I’m super excited to be involved in this project!

Now that I’ve been blogging and sharing my life on the internet for 4 years, I guess a lot of young girls look up to me and I sometimes play an important role in the building of their self esteem. As part of The Dove Self Esteem Project I hope to help you place less importance on the ‘likes’ on social media & more importance on how you feel about yourself.

For the Generation Girl Blogger Challenge, my Mum & I are swapped our social media habits for an entire day (It was hard, real hard haha). Im obviously on my phone more than I’m not & my Mum is the complete opposite. The challenge was for me to have less focus on social media & my mum to have more so we could experience the pressures it places on young girls.

Here’s a breakdown of what my mum (Dawn) had to do;
1. Constantly check Facebook
2. Reach a target of 24 likes on one picture, on any social media account.
3. Stop what you’re doing to check social media.
4. Use 4 social media accounts.
5. Post 1 photo on Instagram.
6. Post a photo you’re not happy with (this was easy!)

(old school photo of me and my mum just for the lols)

My Mum’s thoughts, feelings & opinions.

“When Grace first asked me to help her with work and take part in a challenge, I said ‘Oh, do I have too?’. I understand social media is a huge part of her life, but apart from Facebook and the odd stalk of her Twitter account, I don’t really use it. Surfing Facebook all day was easy, getting likes on my pictures however was not LOL! Maybe ‘old’ people don’t bother to ‘like’ photos, but because my challenge was to get them, I felt such a huge pressure. I guess my daughter sort of feels like that most days?

I recieved 16 likes on one of my profile pictures but I’m sure thats because my other daughter Charleigh got all her friends to like them lol! It was a nice feeling though because I genuinely hate most photos I take & I only ever post photos because I feel I have to. I often post photos where I’m not looking at the camera because if I look at the camera, I go cross eyed (I’m being deadly serious) and its not a good look for me. As soon as I see a camera and I know its looking at me, I panic and I pull weird faces. During this experiment I was actually at work (I work in a shop) so when I was bored and had no customers to serve I logged into 4 different social media sites to pass the time & it was actually great! I found myself scrolling and scrolling which was easy to do and actually quite addictive. I understand now why Grace and Charleigh both spend so much time on their phone, the internet is a vast place and social media sucks you right in. 

Growing up for me was difficult at times & until I had my daughters who both have mental health issues, I never really admitted it to myself. I struggled with self confidence due to being around abusive men and a part of me has taken that with me up until now. I’ve also struggled with my weight in the past, I’ve been a size 12 to a size 18 and even now I will often choose a chocolate bar for lunch instead of a proper meal. I guess self esteem issues have been around for a longtime, but now they are talked about a lot more because the pressures are so high. Im the slimmest I’ve ever been but I still moan about my jiggly belly & until Grace opened up about her problems a few years ago, I didn’t realise how I see myself and what I say about my own body would/could affect her so much. 

When I was younger social media wasn’t around so none of the anonymous ‘you’re ugly’, ‘fat bitch, ‘ugh I hate what you’re wearing’ type comments, just didn’t happen. I’ve never experienced that but I’ve seen how sad it can make Grace sometimes, and as her mother, that upsets me. Putting myself in her shoes for a day was a tad daunting haha, so respect to her for putting her life on the internet and being strong when she receives negativity. I guess good comments outweigh the bad and we all have to accept the fact that social media can be fun but also not fun too! We have a choice whether we choose to be on it but I imagine for young girls, to feel like they fit in, they sort of have to?

My thoughts, feelings & opinions.

I knew my mum would hate doing this because she hates taking pictures but I’m so proud of her for being involved in my work for the first time, YAY mama lol! So for this experiment I had to ditch social media for a day. I browsed Facebook like my mum did and I checked twitter twice a day like my mum does but apart from that, I couldn’t do much. During the day it was a little bit hard, I scheduled my usual worky tweets to go out, but I couldn’t reply to peoples tweets or moan or update my followers on my day lol. I couldn’t check up on my favourite tweeters and most importantly, I couldn’t procrastinate and waste hours of my day scrolling all of my social media feeds HA! I felt like I was missing out, like something huge would happen on Instagram and I would miss it (ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS RIGHT?) but thats how addictive social media is and due to being a blogger, its obviously a big part of my life. By the evening though I was a lot more chilled, I had less anxiety than I usually day to day and it was nice just to spend time in real life and not have to share it in my social life, does that make sense? Having a break was just brilliant, even on holiday I’m on my phone so I really enjoyed having some down time. 

If I’m honest, I don’t feel pressured to get ‘likes’ because I know my followers are active and I will get them due to that, but at the same time I notice if a picture gets more likes than usual, or less. I hate that things are like that but thats just how it is. I feel like having confidence and being comfortable with who you are is deeper than social media though so its important to me for that young girls can learn to love themselves without the opinions or ‘likes’ of others.

I hope you can all get involved in the #NoLikesNeeded social movement. Its time we all took a stand and became socially aware of whats going on around us. Young girls are looking up to me, you, whoever and we need to spread the message that women are so much more than ‘likes’.

To finish I want to say a massive thank you to Dove for bringing me to the Women In The World event where I had the most incredible day. Seeing women who have literally changed the world was inspiring beyond belief. I want to do more and be more and I truly believe its possible. 

I have never felt more proud, to be a woman.